No to restricted area fishing
WALVIS BAY – Requests to fish in the 200 meter isobar should not be granted or permitted, nor should Namibian operations be compared to other countries that allow fishing in their spawning grounds.
This is according to the president of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa, who, supported by the fishing industry, opposes the demand of the Wet Landed Horse Mackerel Association (WLHMA) sector to be authorized to fish in the restricted zone of 200 m.
The industry objection comes after the WLHMA last month sought Cabinet intervention to be allowed to fish in the restricted area because all 1,300 jobs in the sector are at risk.
Sector chairman Jason Angala, in a letter sent to Cabinet last month, said they were directly seeking immediate help to save the sector, which mainly employs women.
“There has been no constructive response from the ministry, apart from September 7, when the minister advised in a phone call that the cabinet submission process was taking longer than expected, as the committee of the Ministry was not in favor of allowing exclusive areas for small wetlands horse mackerel vessels to be caught on an interim experimental basis, based on an interior depth of 200m while a long-term solution is wanted,” Angala said in her letter seen by New Era.
He added that the majority of horse mackerel are caught by large freezer trawlers, which can fish around the clock with large nets on scattered fish, while small wet HM vessels, especially RSW trawlers, can only target benches that are not available during the winter. periods when shoals migrate closer to shore due to water temperature.
The freezing industry employs only 400 fishers on vessels, despite holding most of the 330,000 metric ton quota.
According to him, the decision to introduce a restriction at the 200m depth level was taken arbitrarily, and it was not based on any scientific research or recommendation to protect marine resources, but rather to protect the purse seine industry. sliding interference in the 90s and early 2000s.
“The 200m Restricted Area is not official law, and it is only contained in the Terms of Horse Mackerel Rights document, issued on December 11, 1997. This may be changed at the Minister’s discretion from time to time. to another. Said conditions vaguely describe the depth restriction for horse mackerel as “approximately 200 metres” – unlike hake, where Regulation 63 of 10 April 2015 is very specific in its description and provides the required clarity. Therefore, we humbly request interim exclusive capture zones as a relief as jobs are at stake.”
Industry says no
Amukwa said they do not support fishing in the restricted area as the industry plays a huge role in food security – not only in Namibia but in other countries.
“Therefore, I would like to reiterate once again the strongest opposition in favor of the Minister against allowing anyone to be allowed to fish within the 200m isobaric. The 200m isobaric restrictions were introduced for scientific reasons. The shallow waters are the spawning grounds for most commercial species in Namibia as well as waterbuck,” he said.
He further indicated that the isobar, in addition to being the spawning grounds, is also the nursery for many species before they reach a size where they will migrate to deeper waters.
“Fishing cannot be permitted in these waters as disturbance of young fish, caused by fishing, will impact the biomass of all species important to the Namibian fishing industry, including horse mackerel. opening up the land, even for a short time, will set a precedent, and sectors of industry, including mining, could be incentivized to request access to these waters as well – and it will be difficult to deny them access once the ‘no fishing’ rule has been broken. This will also jeopardize the Hake Marine Steward Council (MSC) certification, which was awarded given the careful way we manage our fisheries – and the closure of this area was one of the most positive points taken into account in the evaluation. – [email protected]