Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has launched a five-year Fisheries Strategic Plan that seeks to develop the fishing sector through management, diversification and conservation of marine resources, so that the sector can operate efficiently and to mitigate and reduce poverty and unemployment.
The detailed strategic plan was introduced to the various stakeholders of the fishing sector at Walvis Bay by Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau at Walvis Bay on Wednesday. The strategic plan sets aside clear guiding tools for the fishing industry in line with Vision 2030, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), as well as the other national development goals.
Fishing is seen as one of the sectors to address poverty and unemployment through wealth distribution and job creation. Speaking at the launch of the strategy document, Esau said government operates through clear policies and the strategic plan was in line with government’s promises to the citizenry to address the prevailing social and economic challenges.
“The strategic plan 2022 is an implementation plan for fisheries aspects contained in Vision 2030, NDP5 and Harambee Prosperity Plan. It is a document developed by the ministry as part of our domestication of government policies and plans, like all other ministries,” Esau explained.
He said the implementation of the plan would cost the ministry about N$1.3 billion over 5 years, with roughly 90 percent of this to be used on operational expenses, while the remaining 10 percent will be spent on development projects.
“Through this plan we want to achieve significant sustainable and efficient utilisation of natural resources, maximise and share the benefits equitably.
“We also want Namibia to be the key fisheries and processing hub in the South Atlantic Ocean through increasing the volume of fish handled, canned and otherwise processed at the entire coast, including Henties Bay and Lüderitz by at least 40 percent,” Esau said.
He said Namibia by 2022 will have to implement a blue economy governance and management system that sustainably maximises economic benefits from marine resources and ensures equitable marine wealth distribution for all Namibians.
“To achieve these outcomes we should collectively encourage scientific advice on the sustainable management of the marine ecosystem. We should also strengthen compliance with the fisheries legislation develop blue economy policy and legal framework, as well as strengthening our aquaculture sector,” Esau remarked. He also said his ministry seeks to improve contribution of value added exports to the national economy and also to boost employment creation, the sector’s contribution to the country’s economy, and to enhance organisational performance.
“Hence, the strategic plan is not for the ministry alone and these desired outcomes cannot be achieved alone, as we do not fish, or trade. Our role is to provide a conductive environment for all stakeholders in the sector, to provide policy guidance, and regulate the fisheries sector. Therefore, we should all collectively work to achieve the desired goals as stipulated in the plan.”
“We are in this together and I am convinced that together we shall achieve the objectives set out,” Esau concluded.