Hefty angling levy could hit tourism – DTA

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WINDHOEK, 10 June 2017- DTA of Namibia Treasurer-General, Nico Smit at a media briefing on the NBC's medial aid payment failures and requested bailout. (Photo by: Linea Dishena) NAMPA

Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The DTA of Namibia says the astounding increase of the recreational angling levy from N$ 14 per month to N$ 1,500 per month (per person) was ill-thought out and will decimate tourism-related business and subsistence fishers in seaside towns.

DTA parliamentarian Nico Smit said when one considers the other expenses, such as flight tickets and accommodation that tourists normally plan for, the addition of this significant angling levy will almost certainly reduce the tourism appeal of Namibia as a fishing destination for tourists.

He said, aside from the increase that came into effect on July 21 – a shockingly huge hike – the fact that provision had not been made for more affordable daily or weekly permits means that the increase will have far-reaching negative effects for local communities.

In addition, he charged that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources had no idea when the law will be amended to make provision for more affordable and practical daily and weekly permits. He said this is of utmost concern.

However, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources permanent secretary Moses Maurihungirire said the monthly payment of N$1,500 for a fishing permit applies only to recreational anglers, who can afford it.
Maurihungirire said the increase was necessary as the ministry had been subsidising recreational fishing, its permits and associated costs to the tune of N$400,000 per month.

The DTA believes whilst the need for a levy is understandable in view of the need to collect funds for the protection of the country’s marine resources, the new monthly levy ignores the fact that a significant number of recreational fishermen on shores are either subsistence fishers who rely on their catches for their daily survival, or alternatively, are tourists who fish as a sport whilst on vacation.

The ministry differed on this point, saying the increase in the levy on fishing permits does not affect subsistence anglers registered with the Fisheries Ministry and Hanganeni Artisanal Fishing Association, as such people would still obtain fishing permits for free.

The DTA MP said in the long run the new levy could mean a small family of five who are on vacation in Namibia would have to fork out N$7,500 just for the recreational angling month-long permit, even if they only intend to go fishing for one or two days before heading to another part of the country.

He urged the ministry to urgently amend the law to make provision for much-needed, practical and more affordable daily and weekly permits, and to do so at significantly lower cost, saying failure to do so would be devastating for residents and businesses in coastal towns.

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