Iceland Continues Fisheries Help

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Namibia’s troubled fisheries sector and the embryonic aquaculture sectors are set to benefit from an extension of agreements with Iceland. This development came to light upon the arrival of Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries, Einar Gudfinnson, with his six-member delegation at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Saturday. The Icelandic minister who is here at the invitation of the Namibian Government is to attend a conference on ‘Fisheries and Aquaculture in Southern Africa: Development and Management’, to take place in Windhoek from Tuesday until Thursday this week. The conference, which will be officially opened by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, will bring together experts not only from Iceland, but the Food and Agriculture Organisation and foreign scientists and business people from several African countries as well. At the same occasion the Icelandic fisheries minister will be delivering the closing remarks at the high profiled platform for exchanging ideas and information. Topics on the agenda include the management and development of all scientific issues with regard to fisheries and aquaculture, how Southern Africa can develop these crucial sectors sustainably and aspects of training and financing. Upon receiving his guest at the airport over the weekend, the Namibian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Abraham Iyambo said Namibia and Iceland share a long history of partnership in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Right from independence in 1990, the ailing fishing industry at the time was aided by immense technical and specialist assistance from the Republic of Iceland. “They came to our rescue after independence. It was and still is the most neutral big fishing nation,” explained Minister Iyambo. As a result of these good relations, Namibia has reaped the benefits of having a research centre in Swakopmund and a fisheries school at Walvis Bay, and the Namibian fisheries minister himself for four years had an Icelandic advisor on economic matters. During the week the Icelandic fisheries minister will be visiting the various patrol vessels and research vessels at the harbour town and fisheries and marine centres at Swakopmund. The foreign fisheries minister, who is being accompanied by experts and development partners in the field, said that signs are hopeful that future cooperation between the two countries can be extended. “This will be something we will be addressing by looking at the contributions made and the successful cooperation between us,” said Gudfinnson briefly in a short interview with the media at the airport. He further noted that he has high expectations about his visit to the coastal towns of the country where most of the Icelandic support has been ploughed into the country. While President Pohamba will open the conference on Tuesday, Gudfinnson will conduct the closing remarks on Thursday. The event is being sponsored the Icelandic International Development Agency and the United Nations University.