Archive for the ‘Fishing in Namibia’ Category

Fish dumpers pay N$1 million to government (Namibian 12/07/2013)

SHINOVENE IMMANUEL and ADAM HARTMAN

A JOINT venture of two Namibian companies and a Hong Kong enterprise who were two months ago charged N$1 200 for allegedly dumping fish into the ocean has now paid N$1 million for the same offense after the previous decision was revisited.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau yesterday told a media briefing in Walvis Bay that the horse mackerel fishing company paid an admission of guilt fine in an out of court settlement after the government initiated criminal charges against them.
On top of the fine, the company is also facing allegations of suspending a worker who had allegedly reported the dumping of fish while the captain of the offending vessel will be deported for offering money to observers at the sea.
The Asian fishing company, Pacific Andes Group, is in a long-term joint venture agreement with two Namibian companies Joka Two Fishing and Hefdy Group and the three formed a company called Atlantic Pacific Fishing.
Esau said the government stopped their initial plans to pursue criminal charges against the fishing company after Atlantic Pacific Fishing approached them for an out of court settlement.
According to Esau, the government was satisfied that given the lapse in the period involved in the investigations, the cost of the investigations, including bringing in expert witnesses, and the anticipated long time the matter may take to conclude in court, it would be in the best interest of everyone to settle the matter out of court and accepted the N$1million fine.
The money was paid into the Treasury on 25 June this year. The minister said the initial fine of N$1 200 was an error .
He said the vessel is suspected to have dump the fish by using escape channel iron pipes designed to divert crushed fish products back into the sea.
The Namibian understands that the crew members were caught red-handed by an inspector who took photos of them dumping fish into the sea and is expected to submit a report on the incident to the ministry. The dumping of fish into the sea is in contravention of the Marine Resources Act of 2000.
“When they dump fish, they are most likely throwing the small (and low-grade) fish back into the water and keeping the bigger (better-quality) fish as that is deducted from the company’s quota,” said a well-placed source in the fishing industry. He added that most of the dumped fish would be dead and this is a waste of resources.
The minister also warned fishing right holders that they are liable for problems created by companies they hire to harvest their fish quotas.
“The responsibility for the conduct of the vessels under the command of their masters whether they are Namibian flagged or not, is yours and we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that we hold you accountable,” he said.
Esau also lauded the whistleblower. “We must protect these whistleblowers so that they can be confident that in future they are not discriminated against for reporting illegal activities. We are proud of people like him,” Esau said.
As for the worker who reported the incident to the ministry, who was subsequently suspended by the ship captain, Acting Director of Monitoring and Surveillance, Peter Shivute, told The Namibian that the worker was encouraged to return to his place of employment.
“We told him to go back and see what happens and report back to us if there are any issues. If they give him problems, it will be a matter for the Ministry of Labour but until now he seems to be back at his job” he said.
Shivute said the vessel’s captain has in the meantime been replaced with another after the license for the MV Leader was renewed.
“He is a persona non grata. We don’t want him here anymore. If he wants to come as a tourist then he can go to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, but he will not work in Namibia’s fisheries’ sector again because of the incident,” said Shivute.
Kent Yeh, the Director of Corporate Development and Planning at Pacific Andes Group two months ago denied that the dumping was intentional.
“During the voyage from 3 May to 12 May 2013, there was a case of unintentional discharge of a small quantity of crushed fish ready for fish meal production from the vessel during 4 days of the 10-day voyage. This was due to an abnormal overflow in the vessel transfer pipes,” he said.
– See more at: http://www.namibian.com.na/indexx.php?id=1302&page_type=story_detail&category_id=1#sthash.1RoAQElm.dpuf

Fishing vessel recalled (Namibian 25/06/2013)

Fishing vessel recalled
By: SHINOVENE IMMANUEL

THE Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has recalled from sea a vessel co-owned by a joint venture of two Namibian companies and a Hong Kong counterpart, a few weeks after it allegedly dumped fish in the ocean.

Owners of the vessel, the MV Leader, were fined N$1 200 after admitting breaking the law by dumping fish in the water. However, it seems the ministry went back to the drawing board to re-investigate the operations of the vessel. It is not clear what the ministry intends to do with the company.
The news that the company had been fined angered some stakeholders in the industry who accused the ministry of being too lenient with the Chinese company which allegedly has a controversial history of fish dumping.
The Asian fishing company, Pacific Andes Group, is in a long-term joint venture agreement with two Namibian companies Joka Two Fishing and Hefdy Group.
Kent Yeh, the Director of Corporate Development and Planning at Pacific Andes Group yesterday confirmed that they were last week instructed by officials of the ministry that the vessel should come onshore.
He said their operations had been stopped and they are still to be told why they had been instructed to dock the vessel.
Yeh could also not provide the exact date on when the vessel will come on land, because there is currently no space at the port and they are waiting for the opening up of space in order to moor their vessel.
“As law-abiding citizens, we will follow the instructions given to us,” he added.
The Namibian understands that the crew members were caught red-handed by an inspector who took photos of them dumping fish into the sea and is expected to submit a report on the incident to the ministry. The dumping of fish into the sea is a contravention of the Marine Resources Act of 2000.
“When they dump fish, they are most likely throwing the small (and low-grade) fish back into the water and keeping the bigger (better-quality) fish as that is deducted from the company’s quota,” said a well-placed source in the fishing industry. He added that most of the dumped fish would be dead and this is a waste of resources.
Yeh, the representative of the international fishing company, last month denied that the dumping was intentional.
“During the voyage from 3 May to 12 May 2013, there was a case of unintentional discharge of a small quantity of crushed fish ready for fish meal production from the vessel during 4 days of the 10-day voyage. This was due to an abnormal overflow in the vessel transfer pipes,” he said. Sources close to the joint venture insist that they are being victimised due to fights over quotas in the fishing industry.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau earlier this month warned fishing companies that dumping of fish is illegal and could lead to perpetrators losing their fishing rights.
He was quoted in a daily newspaper as saying: “A fully fledged investigation will be launched into the incident and the guilty parties will be fined accordingly”.
Fish dumping is not new off the coast of Namibia. Five years ago, seven horse mackerel vessels were recalled from the fishing grounds after allegations of fish dumping.

Fishing sector takes on phosphate miners (Namibian 7/6/2013)

By: ADAM HARTMAN at WALVIS BAY

ATTEMPTS by Namibia Marine Phosphate (NMP) to justify their proposed marine phosphate project near Walvis Bay are considered “misleading” by Chairman of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa, who called for an independent verification of NMP’s claims.

He responded on Wednesday to recent media pronouncements by NMP CEO, Barnabas Uugwanga.
On Monday Uugwanga said Namibia will gain from phosphate mining. He said NMP submitted “a sound and comprehensive Marine Environmental Impact Assessment”, and is now waiting for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to give environmental clearance for its Sandpiper project.
Amukwa said the fishing industry believes NMP is “feeding the public misleading information”.
He claims NMP’s EIA was based on desktop research with no on-site scientific research to back it.
Uugwanga recently said it was fair that fishing communities and environmentalists have concerns about marine phosphate mining, but that these concerns needed to be based on facts.
“This is misleading. NMP’s research to date hasn’t been based on obtaining necessary environmental facts to assess the impact of the mining – that is what we are worried about,” said Amukwa. Amukwa also questioned an advertisement by NMP that “phosphate feeds” and that NMP are working towards food security in Namibia”. Uugwanga added NMP is in a unique position to revolutionise Namibia’s agricultural potential with phosphate.
“Mining phosphate and manufacturing of various phosphate based fertiliser presents Namibia with the opportunity to improve fertiliser availability and price,” said Uuwanga.
“This is also misleading. We are an arid country, and don’t need lots of fertiliser,” countered Amukwa.
In fact, the fishing industry consulted with the Namibia Agriculture Trade Forum and were told that Namibia would not use more than 1 000 tonnes of fertiliser a year, and that Namibia could potentially use 0.1% of NMP’s production.
“The quantity is negligible, and certainly not a key part of NMP’s operation,” Amukwa said.
Independent scientific research clearly defining an on-site environmental baseline at the mining site, giving a clear assessment of the potential environmental impacts must occur before any decision is made on whether or not to go ahead with marine phosphate mining, said Amukwa
NMP proposed a N$14 million environmental verification programme to make sure the fishing industry’s fears are put to rest, as well as to ensure “transparency”.
“Our worry is that this is tactically clever from NMP because it keeps them in control as they are putting the money forward. If NMP employ the scientists to complete the verification study, there is a high risk they will employ the right people in their eyes, to get them the answers they want that fit in with the EIA they have written. NMP cannot be both a referee and a player at the same time,” he said.
In fact, NMP should not be allowed to undertake “what government must do”, Amukwa suggested.
On the one hand, Namibia’s fisheries employ about 13 000 people, and earned N$5,7 billion in exports in 2012. On the other hand, NMP says that by year three of its intended operations, they will generate N$2.4 billion per year and will employ 150 people.
“We must remember that the fishing industry is a renewable resource which can provide benefits to Namibia forever, if it is looked after properly,” said Amukwa.
Marine phosphate mining in Namibian waters is a world first if it becomes operational.
“The environmental implications of this are huge and both Namibians and those in the know internationally are watching closely to see if we manage this issue responsibly,” said Amukwa.
NMP is 85% foreign owned, with a 15% share that goes to Namibian registered Tungeni Investments.
“If the project goes wrong, the foreign partners walk away, and we are left with the legacy.”

Good Job Prospects in Namibian Fishing Sector (24/05/2013, The Fish Site)

NAMIBIA – Namibia’s fishing industry has the potential to create around 4,000 additional jobs if the government and stakeholders combine efforts.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau said the fisheries ministry plays its part by allocating fish quotas equally and fairly, reports NewEra.

“We are doing our part. Your responsibility as stakeholders is to add value to our raw materials and at the same time to create job opportunities by employing more people in this sector,” Mr Esau told the newspaper.

“Be it economic, social, political or business, we all have a role to play in the country’s vision to reduce unemployment through job creation and value addition of our products. We are all aware that NDP4 was launched last year by President Hifikepunye Pohamba with the emphasis on high and sustainable economic growth, employment creation, increased income equality and poverty reduction,” Mr Esau said.

He requested all stakeholders in the fishing sector to work towards the realisation of the goals of NDP4, which include increased manufacturing, value addition and employment creation. “I am appealing to all stakeholders to make positive contributions towards this exercise and to buy into this strategic plan that is aligned to NPD4, so that eventually this document becomes ours instead of that of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources [alone],” Mr Esau told NewEra.

Preliminary figures from the Namibia Statistics Agency indicate that the fishing industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year 2012 was 3.1 per cent, which is a slight reduction from 2011 when it stood at 3.6 per cent.

The final value of exports in the fishing sector stood at N$5.1 billion in 2011, compared to N$4.4 billion in 2010. This was due to the increase in value addition and increased fish landings.

The fishing industry employs about 13,000 workers of whom about 43 per cent are seagoing and 57 percent are involved in onshore processing.

The hake sector, which is the main employer in the fishing industry, employs 9,000 people. The fisheries sector is the third largest economic sector in terms of contribution to the GDP, which stood at about N$3.9 billion during 2011, according to data from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. The fisheries industry is expected to grow to N$4.2 billion at the end of the current economic cycle.

TheFishSite News Desk

Bigger quotas ‘not a threat to fish’

Bigger quotas ‘not a threat to fish’
By: JAN POOLMAN (The Namibian 15/06/2012)
THIS year’s total allowable catches (TACs) for hake and monkfish are 30
per cent and 40 per cent higher than scientists have recommended to
Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau.
However, Esau is confident that his decision not to heed the scientific advice and
recommendations from the Marine Resource Advisory Council will not disrupt the balance
of Namibia’s marine species.
The scientists advised that the hake quota be set at 130 000 tons, while the Advisory
Council recommended 140 000 tons. The Minister decided on 170 000 tons.
In terms of the Fisheries Act the Minister may set his own quota after all relevant
information has been taken into consideration.
The scientists based their recommendations on the fact that the hake stock has reduced in
terms of both fishable and non-fishable biomass, which is the opposite of what happened
the previous year.
However, Esau said he also consulted with economists and went through reports of the
past years and found that the recommendations by the scientists and the Advisory Council
were not in line with previous TACs.
“That does not mean that I do not take their advice but during the previous season the
catches and landing of fish were good and there were no major changes in conditions in
the sea.
“I also have to ensure that we do not land in the same situation as was the case in the
2010 season, when an additional hake quota of 30 000 tons had to be allocated. We have
to make sure that the quota is of such a nature that it will take the fishing right holders
through the year. Keep in mind that we have granted new fishing rights for hake and
monk.”
In the case of monk the scientists and the Advisory Council recommended a TAC of 10 000
tons, but Esau decided on a TAC of 14 000 tons.
The scientists indicated a healthy stock of monkfish, but one that it is at maximum
sustainable yield.
The estimated total revenue that will be generated from the payment of quota fees for
monk will be N$7,5 million and for hake N$48,7 million.

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