First Time Catfish Is Harvested

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By William Mbangula OMAHENENE Close to N$117ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 was generated from the sales of the third annual harvest of fish at Omahenene on Friday, November 17. The harvest was observe d by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Dr Abraham Iyambo, his deputy, Kilus Nguvauva, their Spanish counterpart, Cramen Gallego, regional and local authorities, councillors, traditional leaders and members of the community from near and far. The community was given the opportunity to purchase the fish. It was the first time catfish has been harvested, while the tilapia type has been there since the inception of the inland aquaculture centre here. There are two types of fish found at Omahenene, namely: the tilapia and the catfish. The tilapia is a local fish normally found throughout the river systems of Northern Namibia. It can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, making it an ideal fish to farm with. With good management, it is said that the tilapia can reach a weight of 300ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ kg within six months. The market demand for it is increasing both locally and internationally. The second type is the catfish, which is commonly found in most of the African countries. It feeds on wide range of food. Its ability to inhabit inhospitable conditions makes it a unique species to farm with. According to the officer-in-charge at Omahenene Centre Pandu Elago, between 69 and 217 farmers were given fingerlings and training in order to pursue farming activities in their respective areas. Close to 500 people are still on the waiting list to receive fingerlings as part of the start-up means of fish-farming. Apart from providing fingerlings to potential farmers, the centre always follows up with the farmers as part of the extension work in order to provide them with advice. The extension officers visit ponds to see the overall production of the fish, to research and to monitor all activities. Fish-farming is being emphasized by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources because it is believed to be one of the most sustainable ways of reducing poverty and unemployment. It supplements the food sources, provides additional returns and nutritional values.