Fisheries minister talks ‘straight’
Info sessions hosted
23 September 2021 | Ministries
Derek Klazen; Minister; “All of us have the same objectives, namely having as many people benefit …”
Around 100 new hake fishing right holders attended the first day of induction sessions hosted by the ministry of fisheries.
The sessions started on Wednesday and will continue on Thursday and Friday to accommodate right holders of different fish species.
The sessions include presentations on policy and legal framework, fees and levies, the formation of joint ventures as well as the completion of quota and license applications.
At the opening, fisheries minister Derek Klazen said that as soon as he stepped into office, he was inundated with complaints and appeals because more than 5000 rights applications had been received.
He emphasised that fishing is a national resource and not only for certain people. “You need to apply and follow certain procedures, yet there is no guarantee you’ll be chosen. As a rights holder, you know that you needed to include everyone, otherwise you would not have received it.”
Klazen stated that rights holding companies are organized as a 20% shareholder in a Joint Venture.
“This comprises yourself as a rights holder along with four partners. This appears to be a deal-breaker to many since they are required to work together, often with people from different cultural backgrounds or with different business ideas and strategies.”
He said that working together as a group should not spell trouble, but rather afford leverage when negotiating with technical operators.
“Learn from other rights holders and gain experiences on how to serve as directors of companies. All of us have the same objectives, namely seeing as many people benefit from our natural resources while stimulating new enterprises, even outside of the fisheries sector, to ensure that we leave a legacy for our children.”
Klazen also reminded rights holders to pay their levies.
“At an executive meeting it was brought up that people owe the ministry quota fees related to fish landed. I am very serious when I say ‘pay your quota fees.”
He warned that if rights holders don’t pay these fees, when they apply again it will be checked.
“If fees are paid, you will get the green light and your quota will be released. If not, you’ll be left behind. Make sure your fees are paid up to date.”
“I am a minister with responsibilities to government. We all know the Fishrot story. When I came into this office, I said if I am going to concentrate on Fishrot, I will never be take this ministry forward. Fishrot is not part of my ministry and as a team, we are going to take this ministry to another level.”
He cautioned rights holders not to forget those who assisted in getting the quota.
“Sometimes people are being used and then discarded. That is not fair. Let us stop the fighting and let us move together. I am not here to interfere with your fights, but if I see that the smaller guy is getting hurt, I will step in. You are a company, sort out your issues.”
Klazen said that he was tasked to ensure that the rightful people benefit.
“I am referring to the disadvantaged, those with disabilities, and people that have a chance to better their circumstances. I will stand up for them. Do not underestimate the power of the ministry should you not cooperate.”
Klazen also cautioned rights holders to keep their word when it comes to executing their social responsibility.
“You know exactly what the plight in your region is. Let us make a difference and an impact lives. If you decided to build a borehole or classrooms, remember it’s for your people and not for yourself.”
He advised rights holders to be wary of big fishing companies trying to exploit their new rights.
“I will come back and address the entire industry. Be careful when you sign with big companies. Remember you need them and they need you, but respect each other and look at what you can offer each other.”