Klazen calls out ‘entitled’ fishermen

Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Derek Klazen has denounced the alleged entitlement of fishermen who he claimed wants to dictate the type of work they should do.

Klazen during a renewal of employment contracts of fishermen employed under the governmental employment redressing programme, noted that the fishermen feel entitled and are disrespectful towards employers, continuously threatening employers with mass resignation and demonstration and threatening that the quota belongs to them.

The event which took place in Windhoek on Friday, aimed to renew the designation agreements with designated fishing companies as well as assess the performance of these companies in order to determine whether there is full compliance.

‘The designation agreements do not afford fishermen with the right to choose where to be placed as the agreements only require the placement of fishermen wherever an opportunity for placement arises,’ Klazen expressed.

The minister further noted that in this instance companies have been found to be fully compliant, with a few exceptions of challenges picked up along the way, which he said are receiving attention.

Some of those challenges being experienced according to Klazen, are limited employment opportunities within the fishing industry resulting in non-gainful employment of the fishermen.

Seven fishing companies in Walvis Bay in 2023 signed agreements to re-employ about 1 000 fishermen who lost their jobs in 2015 aboard numerous fishing vessels, following their participation in an illegal industrial strike, now referred to as the Okapale fishermen.

The group also includes fishermen who were laid off from Namsov, owing to a 48 per cent cut of its horse mackerel quota in 2015, and those who lost their employment after being abandoned by two fishing vessels operating under the Icelandic company Samherji, namely Saga and Geysir in 2020.

Meanwhile Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement McHenry Venaani who joined fishermen who petitioned the government at Walvis Bay on Friday, questioned the government’s employment redress programme of the unemployed fishermen and the allocation of the fishing quotas.

Venaani questioned why the government has given fishing quotas to companies, some of which do not have vessels.

‘Companies who do not have fishing vessels mean they do not have the capacity to absorb workers. You are coming to workers and lying to them. Companies are profiting off of these fishermen while they sit at home without jobs and claim they are paying them even while at home.

‘Let us reallocate quotas to companies who have fishing vessels and employ all these fishermen. Those who have no vessels should act like all business people and either go to the banks, buy vessels so that we can have all the fishermen back at sea,’ Venaani expressed.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency