New Era coastal journalist Eveline de Klerk speaks to Moses Maurihungirire, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources ahead of the new approvals of fishing quotas for Namibians, who are surely likely to scramble for these sought-after rights to catch fish in the Namibian sea.
Eveline de Klerk (EDK): How and when and by whom are the fishing rights awarded? How does one qualify for such rights and what requirements do one needs to fulfil to qualify for such rights?
Moses Maurihungirire (MM): Granting of fishing rights is one of the current fisheries management systems in Namibia. The main purpose of these rights is to limit the number of entry and control fishing for resource management purposes. In addition, the rights based system has also been used to promote Namibianisation of the sector. Once rights are granted, right holders’ performance in relation to compliance to the policies, laws, regulations and conditions attached to the rights will be closely monitored and periodically evaluated to determine conformity.
Rights are granted by the minister of fisheries to qualifying Namibians or their companies. In accordance with the Marine Resources Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000), the minister of fisheries may from time to time, by notice in the Government Gazette, announce a period during which applications may be made for rights to harvest any marine resources for commercial purposes, and the conditions on which such marine resource may be harvested.
Normally, the invitation runs for a period of one month. The invitation consists of the name(s) of specie(s) for which right may be applied for; the criteria, which will be used during the evaluation of applications; the closing date; and the place where the applications can be forwarded.
Therefore, it is good to note that the minister does not consider any application (s) received outside the above-prescribed period.
EDK: Can you briefly explain what the process entails.
MM: The process of right granting consists of six stages, firstly the invitation to the public, after which preparations and delivering of applications takes place. After these two stage, an evaluation committee is appointed and sets the evaluation process in motion. Lastly, Cabinet endorses the selection process and announcement and notifications are made to the public.
EDK: What is expected from applicants when applying for fishing quotas?
MM: When applying, applicants are expected to provide a detailed feasibility study, including market analysis indicating processing and marketing of fish and fishery products. They should also provide financial analysis stating the projected profitability of the venture; management analysis, describing the ownership, control and the management of the operations. They should also provide the ministry with technical analysis giving details of vessel (s) and processing factory to be used.
EDK: How does the ministry make sure that those awarded rights and quotas are contributing to nation-building, wealth distribution as well as the acquisition of assets as well as value addition?
MM: The fisheries sector is the third largest income earner after mining and tourism, and in 2015 the sector contributed about 15 per cent of total exports. The annual marine landings of about 550,000 metric tones (MT) valued at an average of N$ 10 billion (about US$800 million) ranks Namibia as the nation with the third largest fishery capture in Africa, after Morocco and South Africa, and 30th worldwide. About 16 300 people are directly employed in the fishing sector, while others are indirectly employed in fisheries related activities such as stevedoring services, fishery-related supplies and logistics. Fisheries also constitute a vital component of domestic food security by providing a source of protein.
Hence in accordance with the policies, laws and regulations and as outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan and NDP5, which is in line with Vision 2030, we are committed to alleviating poverty, creating jobs, industrialisation of the fishing sector and food security among other objectives.
As such, we are determined to ensuring that by 2022, Namibia is the key fisheries and processing hub in the South West Atlantic Ocean through increased volume of fish handled, canned or processed in Walvis Bay cumulatively by 40 per cent.
In this regard, our ministry is ensuring the increased percentage of fish tonnage value addition onshore. Our target is to achieve 70 per cent onshore value addition of horse mackerel. This will transforms into an increase in the number of jobs created in the fishing sector. Another area is through resource rent whereby right holders are contributing to the state revenue through collection of quota levies and fees.
EDK: How do we address wealth distribution in this regard?
MM: With regard to wealth distribution, the Ministry has a scorecard on the criteria for pro-rata fishing quota allocation which focus on equity, employment and value addition.
With regards to equity we encourage right holders to include workers as equity participants in their companies and adopt the principle of co-determination in the management of fishing companies and share profit or loses. Those who do so, are rewarded with increased quota.
In terms of employment creation, especially among the youth, we evaluate the number of jobs created by the right holder per metric ton of quota allocated.
As for value addition, we encourage companies to do more value addition, especially onshore since this translates to more employment creation.
Lastly, we look at the creation of high quality jobs. This criteria rewards those who creates high quality jobs in a number of months per year, measured as salary per month and those who comply to all national labour laws.
However it must be noted that we cannot give all Namibians fishing rights and quotas or even provide employment to all Namibians in the fishing sector. But it is also true that we can increase inclusivity into the fisheries sector by encouraging more social inclusivity into the existing
EDK: Is there a turnaround strategy for the Namibian fishing sector and how are we going to achieve it?
MM: In order to achieve our ministry’s vision, we have developed a five-year strategic plan 2017/18 – 2021/22 based on our mandate and mission and in line with HPP, NDP5 as well as Vision 2030. This strategic plan has identified five pillars in which we need to excel as well as seven strategic objectives that will provide essential building blocks for implementing the Strategic Plan.
Our pillars in which we will excel are namely the fisheries and aquatic resources management, effective and efficient delivery of fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance services, policy and legal framework, socio-economic development and operational efficiency.
The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management pillar are to sustain Namibia’s international acclaimed image in the fisheries resources management, while ensuring that set targets for biomass levels of different species are achieved. The pillar also provides for the inclusion of environmental impacts due to climate changes in fisheries resource management, while providing for continuous scientific research and activities such as the ecosystem approach to fisheries to support resource management efforts.
The Policy and Legal Framework pillar are to ensure responsive implementation of the regulatory framework, internal and external enforcement of regulations, policies and directives.
The Socio-Economic Development pillar is concerned with the socio-economic aspects of fisheries activities such as their contribution to employment creation and to food security. The pillar also addresses value addition and product diversification, external economic factors, and international agreements, all of which have the potential to significantly influence the growth of the fisheries sector.
The Operational Efficiency and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Services is focused on the capacity to operate efficiently. The ministry’s capacity for planning and implementation will be improved as well as its capacity for effective monitoring and evaluation. The effects of the employee wellness both on the industry and the ministry as well as communication efficiencies will be addressed.