Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Derek Klazen, has called for patience from the fishing industry to allow the conducting of pre-licensing investigations.
Klazen said that these pre-licensing procedures are crucial in avoiding the fishing licensing of vessels linked to Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.
The minister, during a gala dinner hosted by the National Fish Consumption Promotion Trust at Walvis Bay on Saturday, said the ministry is aware of the uncertainty and unhappiness within the industry about the period it takes to provide a clear perspective on these investigations.
“IUU fishing activities remain a great threat to global efforts to sustainably manage fisheries resources both within maritime boundaries and within inland water bodies,” he said.
Namibia, as a country of laws, processes and systems, views the curtailing of IUU as an essential weapon in the fight towards ensuring that fisheries resources feed not only the current generation, but also those to come.
Klazen added that the gallant efforts by fisheries inspectors, fish guards and law enforcement agencies are pivotal for the protection of jobs and fisheries niche markets everywhere.
“As a country, we must display vigour, ingenuity and strategy when battling IUU fishing activities, especially when vessels suspected of having participated in illegal fishing activities are besieging us for licensing and wishing to start with fishing operations in Namibia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
He added that the licensing of a vessel is invariably preceded by an investigation and these investigations typically take time to complete as Namibia relies not only on its own systems, but may also require the assistance of neigbouring coastal states.
“I do understand that patience might be difficult to exercise, especially in the face of loss of income and when salaries and employment are delayed, but we must bear this in order to allow for our due process,” he pleaded.
Research conducted by Global Fishing Watch in 2022 indicates that IUU fishing accounts for as much as 20 per cent of the global seafood catch, with annual losses valued at up to US.dollars 23.5 billion.
Source: Namibia Press Agency