Total dependency on sea fishing discouraged

27 May 2014 17:00pm
HENTIES BAY, 27 MAY 2014 – Namibia must invest in aquaculture and marine farming to ease the country’s dependency on seawater fishing, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources says.
Samuel Ankama, who was attending an Aquaculture and Marine Development Summit here on Tuesday, told Nampa in an interview that developing and investing more in aquaculture is crucial to ensure that seawater resources do not become depleted.
“Mariculture and aquaculture involves renewable resources, unlike fishing in natural waters where you have no control on the reproduction of fish and other edible aquatic species. That's why we need to develop our own marine farms and avoid losing jobs should the fish become depleted in our waters,” Ankama said.
He said the development of more fish farms in the country will provide further jobs, ensure sufficient production of fish for food security and boost the economy.
“If we rely too much on natural oceanic resources, they will deplete one day and we will end up with nothing. Imagine how many people will lose jobs if the fishing industries take a break for the next 10 to 20 years to allow for fish reproduction,” the deputy minister said.
He further encouraged farming with Tilapia, as this species enjoys a high market demand in the world.
Some Tilapia fish farms are found at the Omahenene Fish Project and Olushandja Dam in the Omusati Region, as well as Keetmanshoop and Mariental in the //Karas and Hardap regions.
“Many countries in the world are fishing in sea water. That can cause depletion in the species. Hence, the need for us to be prepared to have our own fish farms for export and own consumption,” Ankama explained.
The two-day summit started on Tuesday, and is being attended by managers of different aquaculture projects and representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries. The summit is discussing the operations, goals and challenges facing these aquaculture projects.
The summit is also attended by entrepreneurs and government officials from Henties Bay, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, who highlighted the need for suitable land for aquaculture and marine farming, saying such land is not readily available.
Most of them farm with oysters, prawns, shrimps and abalones.
In his speech at the opening of the Summit, Henties Bay Management Committee Chairperson Michael Skini said the gathering has created a platform for all role players to be unified in efforts aimed at eliminating unemployment through sustainable aquaculture development.
“The summit is meant to addresses common barriers in making available suitable land for aquaculture development. It aims to find practical solutions and to take actual initiatives that will expedite employment creation,” Skini stated.
The Minister of Regional Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Charles Namoloh is expected to deliver the keynote address during the closing ceremony on Wednesday.