MAPUTO, The Mozambican government has approved a set of regulations on fishing rights and licensing, introducing for the first time a title which grants fishing rights, says Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane.

Speaking to reporters after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) here Tuesday, he said companies could use their fishing titles as a guarantee to obtain financial support for their activity. The title also gives the fishing company security, since it is guarantees that, during the life span of the title, it has the right to fish,” he added.

This brings stability to the investors in fisheries. They can make investments, knowing how long their fishing rights will last.”

The period covered by fishing titles ranges from a minimum of three years to a maximum of 20 years. The title for semi-industrial prawn fishing, for example, lasts for three years, with a minimum level of investment. But with greater investment, the title can be extended for 12 years.

In the case of tuna fishing, which Mondlane described as a very demanding activity, in terms of investment, the title can be valid for up to 20 years. For both prawn and tuna fishing, the title can be renewed at the end of the initial period.

Ownership of a fishing title is one of the pre-requisites for obtaining a fishing licence, which must be renewed annually.

Both the titles and the licences are subject to the payment of fees, said Mondlane, since they concern exploitation of a natural resource that belongs to the Mozambican state”.

“Access to commercial exploitation of this resource is subject to fees which vary in accordance with the type of fishery, the abundance of the resource, the place where fishing occurs, and the reference market price, the Minister added.

Mondlane said that fishing for household consumption is not subject to any fee, but the artisanal fishermen who produce for the market will also have to pay a licence fee.

The payments, the Minister said, are to support the work of fisheries inspection, and for preservation of the aquatic environment. Some of the money will also go towards refinancing fisheries activity, including in aquaculture.

The licence fees for fishing companies vary between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent of the daily income from fishing, while artisanal fishermen will only pay an annual fee of 1,000 meticais (about 16.5 US dollars).