By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK As the festive season draws closer, members of the public who are interested in recreational fishing along the Namibian coast and other fishing spots are encouraged to keep in mind the rules and regulations with regard to this practice. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources says there are some relevant aspects of the new marine resources regulations and conservation measures that anglers should consider when fishing. It says as of September 1, there have been notable changes in the days and times recreational fishing permits are being issued at all regional offices in the country. Section 5 of the regulations stipulates that “a person who for recreational purposes harvests in Namibian waters, must be in possession of a fishing permit”. The catching of fish should also be carried out in line with the prescribed rules, otherwise such a person will be “guilty of an offence” . The person must produce the permit within 21 days from the day on which that person pays the fine. People are urged not to make use of other harmful materials that could be detrimental to fish species like catching resources using mosquito nets which has become common in the northern regions. One is required to use a hook and line by rod or reel, to use a scoop net to lift rock lobsters from the water once they have been reeled to the surface, a ring net or by diving. Fishing licences either for one month or a whole year may be bought for N$14 a month and N$168 per year. The fisheries ministry’s inspectors have noticed that some anglers do not bring the necessary documentation when purchasing fishing permits. Permanent Secretary of the ministry Nangula Mbako urges the public to produce national identity cards or passports for intended permit holders. “Anglers under the age of 18 are required to produce birth certificates and passport photos in order for them to be issued with fishing permits.” Special requirements for catching fish for recreational purposes are that a person is only allowed to harvest “30 fish of the species barbel, 20 fish of the snoek species (and) one shark” . However, the general public is also allowed to catch various other fish species like blacktail, galjoen, cob and West Coast steenbras provided that the total amount of fish harvested is not more than 10 a day. In an effort to conserve the growth of fish stocks, people are not allowed to catch any small sized fish. Otherwise it should not be shorter than 25 cm in the case of blacktail and 30 cm in the case of galjoen, for instance. As for rock lobster, one is required not to harvest more than 7 in one day. The fishing season and minimum size for this species remains unchanged, namely 65mm carapace in length. Yet there are other sea species that the general public may catch without the use of fishing permits. These range from 1kg of aquatic plants, other than brown seaweed, 50 black mussels, 2,5kg or 10 kg of brown seaweed, 15 limpets, five molluscs, other than black mussel, limpet, periwinkle or white mussel, 25 periwinkles, 10kg of seashells and 25 white mussels. Areas in which recreational fishing can take place include that of Terrace Bay and Torra Bay, from the Ugab River to Walvis Bay, Pelican Point to Sandwich Harbour, from the southern limits of Diaz to Grosse Bucht and from Pamona Island to the Orange River.
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