Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Upgrade Facilities to Ensure Safety and Quality

Fishing companies should continuously invest in the upgrading of their processing facilities and vessels so as to achieve and ensure the safety of their employees both onshore and offshore, said Bernhard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Speaking at the commissioning of a new vessel by United Fishing Enterprises last week, Esau said that his Ministry will continue to encourage fishing companies to practice sound management in order to secure the livelihoods of those who depend on the sector. "The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources with its staff members has demonstrated their capabilities in managing the resources cautiously for current and future generations. We therefore, look forward to more commitments into this sector so that it can continue to create new employment, contribute to our export earnings and enhance the revenue of the state," he said.

The fisheries sector is the third largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) and last year, it contributed an estimated N$3.9 billion, data provided by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources shows.

According to the Bank of Namibia's latest Economic Outlook Report, the fishing and fish processing sector declined by 2.0% during 2011 and is expected to improve to 1.8% during the course of 2012.

The Bank further states that total lendings improved in 2011 owing to good fisheries management.

This year is expected to be good for the industry as conditions are expected to improve due to increased fishing quotas. The horse mackerel industry, in particular, remains positive, with the total allowable catches having been increased from 310 000 tonnes in 2011 to 320 000 tonnes for 2012. The horse mackerel resource is said to be in a healthy state due to conservative management.

The hake resource has recovered. The total allowable catches for 2012 have been fairly unchanged at 140 000 tonnes.

"However, fluctuating exchange rates and increasing oil prices remain a major drag for the industry, also the European debt crisis continue to slow down the performance of the industry," according to the central bank.

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