Global fisheries' expert applauds Namibia's quota system

12 Oct 2014 12:00pm
SWAKOPMUND, 12 OCT (NAMPA) – Namibia received a pat on the back for its quota system to regulate the harvesting of fish in Namibian waters.
Quotas are allocated to an individual or company to harvest a certain amount of fish in a certain period of time.
Professor Daniel Pauly, a world expert on global fisheries who attended the Global Large Marine Ecosystem conference in Swakopmund recently, said the quota system is the best for sustaining and increasing fish stocks.
Pauly is also the project leader of the ‘Sea Around Us’ project, based at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, the fisheries expert noted that because the fish population in the Namibian waters was almost wiped out by foreign companies who were fishing here before independence, introducing a catch quota is the right way to go.
“Fisheries with quotas work best. Most countries do not have quotas - the vessels are given, for instance, a whole month to catch, and it does not matter how much they catch within that period,” he said.
Asked whether culling of seals in Namibia has any negative effect on the fish population, Pauly said it could have some bad consequences.
He said when culling seals the country need to look at the bigger picture than just reducing the seals and saving the fish.
“This needs to be studied thoroughly so that one understands not only the seals eating and reducing the fish needed by the country, but they also eat the fish that eat the fish needed,” advised the professor.
Another topic he touched on is the effect of global warming on the marine ecosystem, saying it is a serious problem, especially when it comes to fish species.
He explained that different fish species prefer different water temperatures to survive, and when the effect of global warming changes that temperature some fish might die.
“Those that do not die will move from their preferred locations and follow the waters with their preferred temperature. This will, for instance, move fish from Angola to Namibia, and rob that country of their resources in the process,” Pauly said.
On the issue of by-catches, he said fishing companies are usually given a quota for certain species, but they illegally target other species as by-catches.
A by-catch is a fish or other marine species which is caught unintentionally while catching certain target species and target sizes of fish.
According to his observation, the Namibian fisheries sector is not under the threat of illegal fishing.
“Unlike in some African countries, there are no villages with people along the Namibian coast who might fish uncontrollably and reduce fish species. Everything here is controlled, hence there is not much illegal fishing,” he said.
The three-day event that ended on Friday discussed ways to further assess and manage large marine ecosystems across the globe.
Participants also deliberated on ways to protect the marine environment in the three partnering countries - Namibia, Angola and South Africa.
About 150 world fisheries’ experts such as marine scientists attended the conference.