06 Aug 2013 12:50
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) Cabinet recommended that the annual rolling Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for seals for the year 2013 until 2015 be set at 80 000 pups and 6 000 bulls.
A media statement issued by Cabinet Chambers after its 10th ordinary meeting on 02 July this year said scientific recommendations advised that potential new sites for seal harvesting be explored for further commercial exploitation.
This is in accordance with Section 38 of the Marine Resources Act (Act 27 of 2000).
Considering the current state of stock, the scientists recommended that the TAC be set as follows - pups: 80 000 with the harvest split at 60 per cent for Cape Cross and 40 per cent for Wolf/Atlas Bay; and bulls: with the current harvest level of 6 000 bulls to be maintained, with the harvest split at 60 per cent for Cape Cross and 40 per cent for Wolf/Atlas Bay, it stated.
The recent stock assessment was based on the aerial counts conducted in December 2011. The counts covered the entire coast of Namibia, and estimated the overall pup count to be at 254 554 while the total seal population was estimated by the stock assessment model to be around 1.2 million individuals during January 2012.
There has been a northward distribution shift of the Cape Fur Seal population in the northern Benguela as has been observed through the establishment and fast growth of the Cape Frio colony and the recent establishment of the breeding colony at Baia dos Tigres (southern Angola).
During 2011, new individual seals exploitation rights were granted to four Namibian companies. This brought the number of rights to seven within the industry and remains 100 per cent Namibian owned.
The employment in the seal industry was 110 in 2012, while additional indirect employment is created at a seals shop in Henties Bay, at the Nakara Manufacturers and Voermeester due to the seal harvesting activities.
There are currently two processing facilities in the country, one based in Henties Bay and one in Lüderitz. One of the new right holders is in the process of setting up a factory in Lüderitz and is engaging a seal expert from Canada.
The current total investment in the seal industry is N.dollars 14.8 million, and is expected to increase to at least N.dollars 7.2 million in 2013 due to the new factory.
The total socio-economic contributions within the seal industry are more than N.dollars 1 million to date.
Value addition in the seal industry is generally done through processing of pelts in a salted wet form at the respective factories, and according to the clients specifications (cutting, stapling, and tanning) at Nakara Manufacturers.
Other products are dried and cooked with salt in a mixer and sold as such. Products are sold locally as well as on international markets, mainly exported to China and Turkey.
Since the European Union (EU) ban, new markets have been explored with the seal products, and include South Africa, Japan, and Korea.