THE fisheries ministry has reported about five foreign vessels suspected of illegally fishing in Namibian waters to Angolan marine authorities, fisheries permanent secretary Moses Maurihungirire said last week.
Maurihungirire said this after The Namibian reported that foreign vessels were entering Namibian waters from Angolan waters at night to steal tens of thousands of tonnes of fish, especially horse mackerel. This marine theft is costing the Namibian industry millions in lost revenue, and has been going on for a long time, industry sources have said.
"The government is doing everything in its power to arrest the suspected illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessels along our northern border. We are also intensifying both sea and air surveillance. In addition, we are also busy engaging other stakeholders in order to arrest the situation," said Maurihungirire.
He added that Namibia did not condone illegal fishing, and the ministry would thus do everything in its power to bring culprits to book.
The suspect foreign vessels hide their identification signs and symbols, and also use radar to detect if Namibian patrol vessels are approaching. If they detect patrol vessels, they quickly sail into Angolan waters.
Industry sources said the vessels came as far as 110 kilometres into Namibian waters to catch horse mackerel. Namibia's annual total allowable catch for horse mackerel is 320 000 tonnes.