LÜDERITZ – The rock lobster (crayfish) industry is doing much better this year than the previous six years, says Rene-Dean Shanjengange the chairman of the Namibia Rock Lobster Association.
The previous six years the industry experienced market fluctuations and was basically struggling.
One of the factors that affected the sector is that Lüderitz is very expensive to do business in, but there have been meetings on how to mitigate the cost of doing business in Lüderitz. The firms involved cannot always afford the essentials needed to catch lobsters.
The market prices, which they usually receive per kilo, have not changed in fifteen years while expenses have tripled, according to Shanjengange.
Lobster catchers mainly used to find their lobsters north of Lüderitz, which is about four hours’ sailing. But recently they discovered an area to the south which is proving to be very bountiful. However it is about 18 to 20 hours away, which means their boats use more fuel.
The lobster grounds in the north may be affected by diamond mining and global warming but the industry is still trying to find the real scientific reasons for the decline in catches.
The annual crayfish season started on 1 April and runs until November, Shanjengange stated, adding that this is a major challenge because the rock lobster and snoek seasons coincide.
But snoek have been scarce this year so the boats have been standing idle yet Namport must still be paid docking fees.
Shanjengange said they were busy negotiating with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resourses to provide another type of marine species to catch during the crayfish off-season.
Shanjengange said currently frozen crayfish is being exported to Japan at prices ranging between N$100 and N$200 per kilogramme but the prices are coming down and they are looking for a new market in China where prices look good although the Chinese prefer live crayfish.
The industry was trying to finalize negotiations for the export of crayfish to China, he added.
Courtesy New Era