One of the organisers of the group Namibians against Plundering of Our Marine Life, Katja Glöditzsch, says they will protest against plans by the Russian ship Ryazanovka to catch and export Namibian marine resources to Chinese markets and aquariums.
The marine animals targeted for export would apparently be used for research purposes.
Glöditzsch yesterday told New Era the group would hand a petition to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources today at Walvis Bay.
Glöditzsch says hundreds of protestors are expected to gather at 15h00 at the parking area opposite Seapride Foods in town, from where they will march to the ministry’s offices to hand over the petition.
So far the group had collected more than 3 000 hand signatures and 7 980 online signatures but the figure is expected to rise as international animal groups also signed the online petition.
“We already have official permission from the municipal traffic department and Nampol to march and hand over the manual petition at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Walvis Bay. We want all animal lovers and environment-conscious Namibians to take part in the march so that we save our marine life,” she explained.
A petition handover to the captain of the vessel was called off on Sunday when Namport advised the group not to approach the vessel.
Namport’s port captain, Lukas Kafuna, on Sunday said that vessels within port limits should enjoy an unhindered stay while in port, not ruling out the legal implications such a vessel will have for Namport and the country.
The vessel that is owned by the Namibian registered company Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research is suspected to be used in capturing dolphins, whales, seals and penguins. The company and its technical support partner Beijing Ruier Animal Breeding and Promoting have applied for permission to catch and export marine mammals from Namibia.
In the original application by the company it states “the Chinese market for such a venture is enormous and the demand currently stands at ten killer whales per year; 50-100 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins; 50-100 heads of common bottlenose dolphins; 500-1000 Cape fur seals; 300-500 penguins; and various sharks.”