The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources says for a long time Namibia’s people have been exploited and deprived of their own marine resources, despite the fact that the country’s fisheries sector is among the richest in the world.
Officiating at the gala dinner for the fourth annual National Fish Consumption Day at Outapi on Friday, Minister Bernhard Esau said the Namibian fishing sector is flourishing and remains unsubsidised in comparison to global trends.
The local fishing sector employs over 15 000 people, is the third largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is globally ranked amongst the top ten for its value per product, and is Africa’s leader in marine production and export.
Esau further noted that Namibians “have been victim to the exploitation of our fishing resources and we must ensure that the fish stocks remain to benefit future generations. It is against this background that our ministry will endeavour to ensure the sustainability of our fishing sector, through research, administration and strict enforcement of our fishing laws.”
Esau said his ministry remains committed to investing in innovative mechanisms that will make a lasting contribution towards addressing poverty, especially among previously disadvantaged Namibians.
“It remains important for us to uphold the aforementioned legacy of the Namibian fisheries sector and I would like to implore the sector to support the government, through our ministry, by playing your part in this noble endeavour,” Esau said.
He praised the National Fish Consumption Promotion Trust – a subsidiary of the fisheries ministry – for embarking upon a roadshow in various constituencies of the Omusati Region last week.
Through the roadshows children and members of the wider community received fish and gained some experience in preparing the fish. “I remain confident that these people will share that information with the rest of their households,” he said.
During the gala dinner Oshana Region was selected – through a draw – to host the 2016 National Fish Consumption Day. Oshana was selected from among the other 14 regions.
The gala dinner was followed by the actual celebration on Saturday, where hundreds of people turned up at the Olufuko Centre in Outapi to celebrate and buy both raw and cooked fish at relatively low prices.
A number of officials from Omusati Regional Council, including Governor Elgenius Endjala, private companies, the Namibian Fish Consumption Promotion Trust and the fisheries ministry, also attended the event.
Local artists, including Mushe, Ndilimani, Sally and The Dogg entertained the crowd throughout the day. This year’s event was held under the theme: ‘Bringing the Ocean to the North.’