WALVIS BAY – New hake fishing season would run from 1 November to 30th September of the following year, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau announced yesterday, saying the decision is “after considering the advice received from the Advisory Council.”
The current fishing season for the hake industry starts on May 1 and ends on April 30 the following year.
There were discussions this week between the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and fishing right holders, especially those with hake fishing quotas, over the possibility of having a month’s break from fishing in the hake sector.
The reason is to have a fisheries management that addresses the possibility of overfishing by having a sufficient period for the fish stocks to recuperate.
Governoment has long discussed the enforcing of a closure period for the hake season but has yet to agree on the implementation with stakeholders in the industry.
“We need to see how we should go about making it happen. The request for change came from the industry and was already discussed at advisory council level but we could not come to a consensus. However there was common understanding that we can at least change the season. Now the issue at hand is how to go about it, as the season normally starts on 1 May,” Esau explained earlier this week.
The chairman of the Hake Association, Matty Amukwa, said the industry has long waited for the implementation of the proposed change. If implemented the change will definitely be of advantage to the industry in terms of cost reduction, especially when it comes to dealing with the registration of vessels for the new season.
He also said that the change would reduce time and pressure on the staff of the ministry that deals with issuing licences. In addition the proposed closing season will give ample time to scientists and researchers to collect important data that will influence how much quotas should be awarded, whilst allowing the hake stock to recover.
“Our scientists and economists are doing their projections and surveys. Overall I don’t have a problem with the change. It’s now up to us to discuss how we will be phasing in the change as various aspects need to be considered as well. Al the specific aspects need to be taken into account when implementing the change. Therefore I am requesting you to be time conscious and come to the best common understanding and see whether it can be implemented,” Esau urged.