18 Feb 2017 18:20pm
WALVIS BAY, 18 FEB (NAMPA) - The Namibian fisheries industry is still strong and vibrant, with most commercially important stocks showing signs of recovery since last year.
There is however still a need to rebuild the stocks to a maximum sustainable yield level to ensure optimal contribution to the economy.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau revealed this on Friday at the annual state of the fisheries address in Walvis Bay.
He said despite hiccups such as low catches and lack of commitment from some right holders to land their quotas, the industry is in a good state, creating jobs and adding value to marine products.
Some of the species that showed an increase in population are Hake from 1 431 870 metric tonnes (MT) in 2016 to 1 740 260MT in 2017; Horse Mackerel 1 386 410MT in 2016 to 1 449 930MT in 2017 tonnes; and Monk from 61 870MT in 2016 to 64 000 in 2014 tonnes.
Esau noted that more research is needed on the behaviour of the Monk to better understand their spawning and feeding.
He said the deep sea Red Crab population increased from 26 561 MT in 2016 to 29 366MT in 2017, indicating that the stock continues to be more stable, when compared to other commercially exploited stocks.
Rock Lobster increased from 1 477 MT in 2016 to 1 784MT in 2017.
On the Lobster, Esau said the lack of commitment from right holders to catch the quotas allocated to them is a problem.
I am calling upon the fishing industry to put more effort in catching the quotas allocated to them and avoid the under performances observed in the past years.
Concerning Pilchard, he said the stock is not recovering and recruitment was found to be below the long-term average of 3 billion recruits in the past six years.
The ministry shall intensify research in this fishery during the current season in order to evaluate any new migratory patterns and continue to take a precautionary approach in managing the Pilchard stock, to increase the chances for a significant recovery.
Esau said in the 2016/17 financial year, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for various fish stands at 521 714MT, lower than the 528 696 MT for the previous financial year.
However, more catches were recorded last year at 514 297MT compared to 458 000 MT 2015/16 preliminary landings.