Fishing quotas: Facts versus fiction

19 September 2014
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OFFICIAL figures show that one of the new entrants to the midwater fishing industry Omualu Fishing employs just over double the amount of workers that industry giant Namsov Fishing does even after having operated for 20 years.

Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources documents (to the left) clearly indicate that Omualu Fishing employed 710 workers in total whilst Namsov employed 280 for the 2014 horse mackerel fishing season.

Some of the other smaller companies in joint venture operations have also managed to create employment through their efforts of value addition in a short span of time.

Katla Fishing employed 119 people, Cavema 73 people, Mack fishing 96, which does not compare badly with another industry giant, Erongo Seafood that has operated for more than ten years and only employs 392 persons.

Many of the Namsov jobs rely on quotas from other right holders such as the Fish Consumption Trust, Omualu, Spoto, Beiramar, Marazul and others.

Namsov has, however, stuck to its guns and claimed once more this week that the decision by the ministry to reduce its horse mackerel quota slightly had forced the company to retrench 120 workers.

Although Namsov went to great lengths to publicise its grievances, it provided very little, if any, insight into the history of quota allocations over the years that made the company to become such a dominant player in the sector.

From 1994 until 2011, Namsov and Erongo Seafood shared the bulk of the horse mackerel TAC among the two of them, and the ministry’s statistics show that combined they harvested approximately one million metric tonnes of horse mackerel from Namibian waters.

With the value of the catch ranging between N$2-3 billion it raises questions about how exactl the two companies reinvested that kind of money in terms of not only job creation, but also payment of taxes and infrastructure development.

From 2012 onwards, the ministry appears to have focused on a policy of broad-based participation in the industry, which now has the likes of Namsov up in arms.

Although the ministry of fisheries altered its management system, and made it a rights-based system from a quota based system, it never implemented these changes and it only came into effect with the change of guard in 2010.

Total jobs created since 2012 in the horse mackerel industry stand at approximately 280 sea going (50 Cavema, APF 120, Katla 60, Omualu 50) and 1,200 jobs on shore.

From the Horse mackerel quota allocation of 2012-2014, the ministry’s document further illustrates what non- right holders received quotas and the various reasons.

The Mozambique and Angola quota allocations fall under the bilateral agreements between Namibia and the respective countries.

The Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust, which is Government owned, caters for the distribution of affordable fish in the various regions.

The ministry placed a moratorium on small pelagic because of the depletion of fish stocks and the decision to grant a quota through a Cabinet directive. Similarly, the ministry granted other quotas to non- right holders who required bailouts in order to sustain themselves in the industry, including Fishcor, Etale Fishing while the Office of the Prime Minister also received a quota in 2013 for drought relief.

A group of women, whom the ministry gave an opportunity to participate in the industry, own Jatuhill Investment Holdings. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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