Aquaculture the way to go: Esau

03 Aug 2015 09:30am
KEETMANSHOOP, 03 AUG (NAMPA) – Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau on Sunday said aquaculture is the way to go to ensure food security and promote healthy living for Namibians.
Esau made a pit stop at Fonteintjie, the aquaculture facility on the periphery of Tseiblaagte in Keetmanshoop, while returning from a visit to Lüderitz where he inaugurated two new vessels acquired by Government-owned fishing company, Seaflower.
The minister said aquaculture is beneficial as it can be controlled as opposed to marine life which depends on environmental factors, thus affecting breeding.
He said aquaculture was growing rapidly throughout the world, citing country examples such as Chile and Spain, where fishing was expanded to include mariculture in ensuring food security.
Mariculture is the cultivation of fish or other marine life for food.
Describing Fonteintjie as a demonstration facility, Esau said the project served to show people of the region that it was also possible to farm with fish besides the popular stock farming practiced in //Karas. He said many farms already have dams and urged farmers to get the maximum benefit of their resources by placing fingerlings in the dams for breeding.
Fingerlings are small fish that can be obtained from aquaculture farms to breed for future consumption.
Fonteintjie receives its fingerlings of tilapia fish from the Hardap aquaculture project just outside Mariental. Other popular freshwater fish available are carp and catfish.
Fonteintjie project manager Peter Simasiku said the scheme produces four tonnes of fish per year and currently stocks 12 000 tilapia in the six dams.
At present, renovations are underway at the farm to expand the facilities and to double the output by September 2016, according to Unda Tjihuiko, a chief biologist of the ministry.
Furthermore, she revealed that a proposal has been received for the establishment of a large aquaculture project at Naute Dam, outside Keetmanshoop.
Tjihuiko said an operating license was already issued to the interested party - a Namibian company, but that the person was still busy sourcing funds for the project.
“Once it becomes a reality though, it will be huge, and very beneficial for everyone,” she said, declining to name the person or company until all particulars have been confirmed.
Esau urged community members to refrain from stealing from projects like Fonteintjie saying it belonged to all and that it was selfish to destroy a resource established to serve the larger community.
Over the years, Fonteintjie has been plagued by several problems affecting its productivity and success, including theft and vandalism.