Aquaculture industry still in its infancy

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Windhoek

While Namibia’s regulatory and legal framework for aquaculture is second to none the local industry is still in its infancy and has not yet reached a “stabilizing phase”. This was the sentiment expressed by Dr Moses Maurihungirire, the newly appointed permanent secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and former director of aquaculture in the same ministry, who emphasized that the industry is moving in the right direction.

“We are now in the pioneering phase and have to move on to the growth phase,” added Maurihungirire.

During his introduction to the media by Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau, the PS noted that Namibia still has plenty to do for the aquaculture industry to evolve. However, he admitted that reliable local processing of fish feed has become a challenge, particularly due to recurring drought. He added that the industry also still needs to identify strains of fish that are ideally suited for the domestic environment.

Government considers the development of aquaculture as a sector with considerable growth. In fact, the fisheries ministry recently met with the Congolese government to formulate a policy to enhance aquaculture in a controlled environment.

During a recent meeting between the fisheries ministers of the two countries it was mentioned that hopefully the policy would result in more fish production and better planning.

That country’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Bernard Tchibambelela, emphasized that aquaculture needs a holistic approach and emphasized that exchanges of expertise between Congo and Namibia can improve what strategies are already in place.

Namibia and Congo’s fisheries ministries signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 that calls for cooperation in the fields of monitoring, control, surveillance, exchange of information on fisheries and aquaculture, research and stock assessment, and training and support in joint ventures, among others.

“To date we are happy to note that progress has been made as far as training is concerned. I am glad that candidates from the Republic of Congo could receive training at our maritime institution, Namibia Maritime Fisheries Institute, and I trust they will put the knowledge gained to good use. I am also cognizant that we need to gain momentum in the other areas of cooperation that are equally high on the agenda of the two ministries and I expect that protocols will be developed to put into effect these areas of cooperation,” said Esau.

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