Hake Management Plan under review

17 November 2021 | Fishing

The chairman of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa announced that the ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and the industry had a first review meeting of the old Hake Management Plan (HMP) and set in motion a process which hopefully by August 2022, will provide them with a new 5-year Hake Management Plan.

The fishing sector employs over 15 000 persons directly, mainly in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. Additionally, it sustains businesses such as workshops, marine suppliers, supermarkets, furniture and clothing shops, doctors, accountants, engineers, cleaning and transport companies all over the country.

“It is estimated that over 100 000 Namibians are directly or indirectly dependent on the fishing industry; therefore it is vital that fisheries remains well managed and supported as a vital pillar of the Namibian economy,” Amukwa said with regards to the sustainability certification of the Namibian Hake fishery by the respected Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The certification of the hake fishery recognises and rewards the sound management of the hake resources by the MFMR. Amukwa said that while applying for MSC certification made economic sense for the hake sector, it should not be forgotten that there are other sub-sectors that have also seen dramatic growth since independence when most stocks were overfished and close to extinction. “Today, horse mackerel, monk and crab are fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield, which raises the question whether the Marin Resource Act, Rules and Policies which were introduced at independence with the aim of stock rebuilding and to ensure that the benefits of the fishery remained in Namibia, are still applicable 31 years later or whether they need to be adapted to take cognisance of the current circumstances.”

He questioned that if the biomass has reached its limits, if it makes sense to issue new rights in these sectors. “By doing so we are cutting the loaf into ever thinner slices. Do we not rather need to look at new policies and regulations that protect the jobs and investments made in the fishing sector, which is a capital-intensive industry?”

Amongst the factors that assisted in reaching the score needed to for MSC certification, was the first HMP. The HMP was to run from 2014 to 2018 when it was to be revised, which did not take place. “You can argue that the objectives and goals set in the HMP are covered in our legislation and policies, and that as such they guide the management of the stock. However, the HMP, all the parameters and objectives, are contained in one document to which the minister put his signature and in doing so, created a strong document of government intentions,” Amukwa said.

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