By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “SPOIL yourselves with the products the ocean offers this festive season, but play within the rules of the game as well as within the limits of the Namibian law.” This was the message of the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr Abraham Iyambo, to the ever-growing number of expected local and foreign anglers over the Christmas holidays. “Make no mistake, transgressors of the fishing quota rules will be duly prosecuted. These measures are necessary to protect the specific popular angling fish species, presently in abundance in our ocean waters, for generations to come,” Iyambo cautioned. He specifically referred to fish types such as kabeljou, snoek, galjoen, black tail and steenbras, currently being caught by anglers. “The popularity of angling as a sport has taken off in a big way among Namibians as well as foreign tourists from South Africa, Germany and neighbouring landlocked Botswana. These visitors come in droves for angling purposes, something we in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources welcome,” Iyambo, who referred to visitor statistics as encouraging, said. The latest annual report of his ministry indicates that more than 50 000 monthly permits of N$14 and 1, 294 year permits of N$120 had been issued to local and foreign anglers. “These numbers are indicative of how popular this dual sport of angling and domestic fish consumption has become. Some South Africans come to Namibia up to four times per year to practise the sport of angling. However, catches need to be controlled and limited for breeding and stock preservation purposes,” he said. According to the minister, permit holders are allowed a quota of10 fish per day, which should not exceed specific regulated sizes. “Anglers ignoring these regulations will be in big trouble because under- and oversized catches are to be thrown back into the ocean. If not, transgressors will surely be apprehended by our inspectors, wherever such offences occur. Anglers also need to be aware of the fact that when transporting catches, the maximum number of fish they are eligible to move around is limited to 30, nothing more,” Iyambo said. He also warned anglers against greed by over catching at roadblocks that will be manned day and night by the Namibian Police and inspectors in his ministry specifically on coastal roads and elsewhere. “The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is working in close collaboration with the Namibian Police to apprehend offenders since the beginning of December and will continue to do so until the end of this month. This applies for freshwater fishing in lakes and rivers, too,” he warned. Iyambo further encouraged anglers to on time apply for legal fishing permits at specific offices at the ministry’s research centre at Swakopmund, the LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz and Walvis Bay Inspectorate offices, the Henties Bay Fish Project and at the Terrace Bay charge office. “These offices will be daily open from 08h00 to 17h00 with the exception of Christmas and on New Year’s Day. These two days permit offices will only operate from morning until lunch times. I must also seriously warn against over-catching and illegal fishing in sanctuaries and other official restricted areas,” Iyambo. The coastal restricted areas include the area north of Pelican Bay, the mouth of the Kunene River, the area 25 km south of Terrace Bay, the mouth of the Uchab River, Sandwich Bay and the area 10 kilometres north of Torra Bay. “As minister I would like to encourage anglers to practise their dual sport and reap the fruits of their hard labour. In the process anglers should keep the environment as well as the ocean clean. I also wish them a happy festive season next to the ocean waters of our country,” Iyambo concluded.
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