FISHERIES minister Bernhard Esau says the ministry will spend about N$38 million to promote marine and inland aquaculture in the financial year 2019/20.
He revealed this information in the National Assembly on Monday, while motivating the ministry's budget of N$250 million for the financial year 2019/20.
"The purpose of this is to ensure the responsible development of aquaculture and the sustainable use of inland fisheries resources, increase income, enhance food security, reduce poverty through employment-creation, as well as improve rural livelihoods and increase investments," Esau said.
He noted that hatcheries produce fingerlings for small-scale farmers across the country at the government demonstration fish farms located at Epalela, Mpungu, Leonardville and Keetmanshoop.
The funds allocated to this programme during the preceding financial year were used for research, fingerlings and fish production, training and extension services.
"In the process, a total of 335,63 metric tonnes of freshwater and marine aquaculture products worth about N$145 million were produced in the country, while 800 000 fingerlings were stocked at small-scale fish farms in the Omusati, Oshana, Kavango West, Hardap and Omaheke regions," he noted.
Esau said the ministry would vigilantly assess the sustainable commercialisation of inland fisheries to safeguard the resource base for those dependent on these resources.
"Inland fisheries are essentially small-scale, subsistence or artisanal in nature, and a large number of our rural people engage in this activity," he continued.
To strengthen inland fisheries management, Esau said the ministry held consultations with traditional authorities, regional councils and community conservancies along the Zambezi and Kavango rivers to discuss fisheries' protected areas and closed seasons.
"The ministry is keen to empower riparian communities to manage their fisheries on a sustainable basis," he stated.