Commercial fish stocks show signs of recovery

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Eveline de Klerk

Walvis Bay-Namibia’s fisheries is healthy and vibrant and has provided about N$10 billion forex earnings during 2016 while at the same time maintaining 16 800 direct jobs making it the second largest contributor to the economy after mining. This was said by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau during the annual Fishing Industry address that took place last week in Walvis Bay.

Esau added that this significant revenue is attributed to improved catches with regards to size, favourable exchange rates, increased vale addition and better prices in some markets. According to the minister, the total allowable catches (TAC) for various fisheries was 521,714 metric tonnes compared to 528 696 metric tonnes during the 2015/2017 season.

“Value addition in the sector is also increasing and I am optimistic that 2017 will be a better year for the industry. However I would like to remind the industry once again to reinvest these earings into the sector in order to cushion yourself against difficult economic times in the further instead of declaring dividends and squander money on flashy cars,” Esau said.

Referring to the fish stocks, Esau said that most of the country’s commercially important fish stocks are showing signs of recovery, although there is still a need to rebuild these to a maximum sustainable yield in order to ensure optimal contribution to our economy. “There are however some stocks which appear to be in a very precautious situation and for which urgent management and interventions are needed to prevent them from total collapse,” the minister explained.

Esau went on and  explained that the stock assessment for hake which was conducted in September last year shows that the overall stock biomass has increased with 21.5 per cent  while horse mackerel  stock currently is above the maximum level  yield with a 4.6 per cent. “Pilchard stock are still in precarious situation while the biomass for monk and crab has also increased while rock lobster is showing signs of recovery,” he said.
The tuna and tuna-like species are still underperforming.

According to Esau the Minister of Mines and Energy in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is busy conducting  a study to understand  the possible impact of activities in the ocean such as seismic survey on the performance of  the large pelagic sector.

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