Namibia: Harmful Fishing Subsidies Should Be Banned - Esau

More than 1,000 people participated in the protest at Walvis Bay against marine phosphate mining. Most of those who participated were fishery workers.

SUBSIDIES that hinder enhancement of national fishing fleets should be banned, fisheries minister Bernhard Esau, has said.

Esau made these remarks during the commemoration of World Ocean Day on Saturday, where he said these subsidies are harmful to fish stocks globally.

"These harmful subsidies are a major reason why many African countries cannot develop their own domestic fleets, hence the call at the current World Trade Organisation negotiations taking place in Geneva, Switzerland for them to be banned," Esau said.

"Namibia does not provide capacity enhancing fishing subsidies, and we are opposed to them, considering that they distort fair competition among fishing fleets in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is part of global efforts to save the ocean, which include negotiations on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction," he added. The annual event was held under the theme 'Gender and the Ocean'.

"We must all do our bit to ensure the health and sustainability of our ocean and I am happy to note that tori lines, which were introduced in 2008 through a collaboration between the ministry, Birdlife International's Albatross Task Force (ATF), the Namibian hake fishery, among others, to reduce seabird mortalities has been 98% successful," he said. The ATF is a marine conservation project focusing on reducing seabird mortalities caused by interactions with fishing gear.

Project coordinator, Samantha Matjila, during the event noted that committing towards protecting and conserving the natural environment both on and offshore should be a shared responsibility of all Namibians.

"Our aim is to highlight the importance of maintaining the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources so that future generations can continue to reap the benefits from them," Matjila said. - Nampa

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