HENTIES BAY – The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Chief Samuel Ankama, yesterday told delegates to a two-day investment conference that the development of Henties Bay will bring about much needed employment.
Sectors that will benefit are particularly in the spheres of mariculture (farming with sea water) and aquaculture (farming with fresh water).
Moreover, the deputy minister is of the opinion that opportunities within aquaculture can be harnessed to produce high value fish and shellfish, for both domestic and international consumption.
“Our government strongly supports any ventures in aquaculture as it holds numerous benefits for the local community. Aquacultture can also improve food security and represents sustainable economic use of our coastal and inland fisheries resources,” remarked Ankama during the official opening of the conference at Henties Bay.
Worldwide, growth forecasts indicate that aquaculture production has expanded in many areas.
In fact, aquaculture is the fastest growing food source in the world and currently makes up 42 percent of the world’s fish production.
Also, demand for fish and seafood is increasing as the global population becomes more aware of the nutritional benefits of eating fish.
“We can only only be a healthy nation if we make use of the opportunities presented by aquaculture,” noted Ankama.
He added that Namibia continuously strives to attract investors for its fishing industry, particularly in mariculture and aquaculture.
Ankama noted that towns like Henties Bay, Swakopmund and Lüderitz are ideally situated for aquaculture industries.
“We call on these authorities to make land available for mariculture and aquaculture activities, to benefit their respective communities and the nation at large. We have so much land along our coastline but we are not utilizing this land. We need to be productive with this land or else we are doing a disservice to the people of this country,” he stated.
According to government’s action plan, mariculture will service mainly export markets while aquaculture would be used more to improve Namibia’s internal food security. Challenges to the mariculture industry include the availability of suitable land, pollution from ports and ships, access to capital and hydrogen sulphide eruptions.
Funding of aquaculture projects was mentioned by Ankama as one of the major hurdles that are hampering investment in this sector.
“To start up with an aquaculture farm requires a substantial investment, but this is not money down the drain as these funds will be recouped within a short period of time,” said Ankama.
However, Ankama expressed concern that some individuals, whether in public or private companies, try to delay aquaculture projects in order to obtain a stake in such projects.
“Such individuals are a cancerous growth in the development of this country. These people are hampering development and they should be rooted out immediately,” he warned.
Representing the interests of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Tileni Andima, the chief executive officer of the Business and Intellectual Trading Authority told delegates that the MTI is an integral part of any business such as aquaculture.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry can assist potential aqua-farmers with the registration of their businesses, can assist in identifying markets and provide export permits,” noted Andima.
According to the chairperson of the Henties Bay Management Committee, Michael Skini, the objectives of the two-day summit include bringing together decision-makers within the mariculture and aquaculture sectors.
The summit however not only focused on aquaculture but also the much anticipated N$330 million waterfront development at Henties Bay.
The summit looked at the various funding options for the development of the waterfront, which are expected to hold numerous developmental benefits for the coastal town.
By Edgar Brandt