Horse mackerel sector's management plan discussed

19 Sep 2013 05:00
WALVIS BAY, 19 SEP (NAMPA) - Fisheries and Marine Resources’ Minister Bernhard Esau says Namibia needs to renew its policies regarding the horse mackerel industry to aggressively promote extra investments in value-addition.
He made this statement at the end of a two-day national consultation workshop on the development of a plan for the management of the Namibian horse mackerel industry at Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
The gathering was attended by stakeholders in the fishing industry, and officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR).
Esau indicated that policies on the horse mackerel industry were ‘excellent’ after independence, but 23 years later, Namibia ‘is not the same country’, and there have been changes in the horse mackerel industry.
Since Independence in 1990, all horse mackerel catches were directly transhipped, which negatively affected the national goal of employment-creation.
This, he said, changed as Namibia wanted an industry which would be a provider of employment, and focusing on onshore landing was the key to job-creation.
Transhipments involve the transfer of fishing consignments from a fishing vessel to another vessel, which can take place either in a port or at sea. Onshore landing refers to the processing of fish and fish products onshore.
The Fisheries Minister went on to state that in spite of Namibia’s success in this aspect, horse mackerel policies are contained in different documents, making it difficult to assess whether the policies are as good as they can be.
“There is no doubt that the current policies have achieved many of the objectives that were set out in the beginning. The development of a management plan represents a new beginning, as most of the policies were created when Namibia was a new nation,” he noted.
The development of a management plan for the horse mackerel industry represents the first step in assessing the policies relating to that industry, as the plan will bring together the current policies under one document.
“Once the plan is in place, we will begin the assessment of the policies, and then look for ways to improve, which is considered a long-term process as the environment constantly changes,” Esau added.
The management plan, which was to be discussed during the workshop, will explain how the horse mackerel industry will be managed during the next four years.
The plan will also outline the goals for the horse mackerel industry, as well as set appropriate objectives and sustainable strategies on how to achieve short, medium and long-term management goals.
The plan will further provide performance indicators, which will enable the MFMR to measure and track its achievements.