13 Dec 2017 19:00pm
EPALELA, 13 DEC (NAMPA) Aquaculture along the rivers is a viable option of relieving pressure from the countrys natural capture fisheries providing nutritious food and sustaining the livelihoods of many people.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhardt Esau said this on the occasion of the fish harvesting of the Epalela Aquaculture Fish Farm near Ruacana in the Omusati Region on Wednesday.
Esau told the audience that his ministry is determined to diversify sources of fish in the country and thus believes that fish farming in Namibia is possible, practical and can be done in an economically viable way.
According him, aquaculture in Namibia started in the early 2000s with a strong commercial drive behind marine aquaculture in the farming of filter feeding bi-valves (oysters, mussels, clams).
This sector has had commercial success and produces on average 1 500 metric tonnes (MT) a year, Esau explained, adding that freshwater aquaculture is mainly focused on promotion of small-scale fish farming.
He went on to say aquaculture competes with cheaper fish from inland fisheries resources of the Zambezi, Kavango and Kunene drainage systems, which produced an estimated 5 000MT per year until 2013/14 when commercial exploitation with monofilament dragnets destroyed the fishery in the Zambezi and Kavango systems.
Under my leadership, we have banned the use of these destructive nets on inland water bodies, and are working closely with other riparian states to ensure sustainable fisheries in these rivers, Esau stated.
The Epalela Fish Farm has produced 12.3MT this financial year (2017/18), and the production is expected to increase after Wednesdays harvest which is targeted at 5MT.
This increase in production, Esau said, is mainly due to availability of fish feed which is supplied by the National Fish Corporation of Namibia for the whole year.
Speaking at the same occasion, Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala stated that his region has two Government aquaculture farms at Epalela and Onavivi, as well as 14 successful small-scale farms producing tilapia fish species.