28 Nov 2013 15:50pm
WALVIS BAY, 28 NOV (NAMPA) - Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau says the absence of a horse mackerel industry would compromise the total benefits which Namibians could reap from the fishing sector.
He made this statement here on Wednesday at the launch of a new canned fish product, which was introduced into the market by Erongo Marine Enterprises and Etosha Fishing.
Esau said horse mackerel policies need to be reviewed in order to aggressively promote investments in value-addition.
The minister explained that the policies on the horse mackerel industry were excellent after independence, but the trans-shipping of these products negatively affected employment-creation in Namibia.
The sustainable management of fisheries resources for the benefit of all Namibians has become important, especially because of the prevailing drought conditions in the country this year, he added.
Statistics availed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources show that horse mackerel was the most valuable export commodity from the fishing industry in 2011, as it brought in N.dollars 2.5 billion.
Apart from being a major economic contributor, horse mackerel is the most commonly-consumed fish species in the country. Thus, we need to ensure that there is responsible and sustainable utilisation of this resource, Esau stated.
Namibians are now also getting into the habit of consuming fish more often.
According to the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust, 5 096 metric tonnes of fish were distributed to the public from January to September 2013, compared to the 3 826 metric tonnes distributed over the same period in 2012.
Esau thus requested fishing companies to join his Ministry to transform Namibians from being heavy consumers of meat to consumers of fish.
He also cautioned that the Namibian Government will no longer tolerate fishing companies which make themselves guilty of changing their shareholding structures, and auctioning off quotas.