Congo and Namibia continue discussions on maritime resources

WINDHOEK: Bilateral discussions on aquaculture between Namibia and the Republic of the Congo resumed here on Monday morning.

Namibian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau and Congolese Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Bernard Tchibambelela will continue discussions on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two ministries in September 2011 in order to further deepen cooperation in aquaculture and the use of natural resources in both countries.

Even though the MoU is not a legally-binding contract, Esau emphasised the value of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the fields of monitoring, control and surveillance, exchange of information of fisheries and aquaculture, research and stock assessment, training as well as support of joint ventures.

In his speech during the media briefing, Esau urged for the strengthening of other fields of cooperation, and for clear time lines for the implementation of different protocols.

He said the discussions will determine concrete ways in which the two countries are able to strengthen the MoU and manifest it in concrete actions or decisions.

“We also want to be sure that the principles of reciprocities are included in these joint ventures,” he stated, adding that the questions related to the MoU need to reach the heads of Government to be truly realised.

On his part, Tchibambelela expressed concern that marine life is depleting.

“All over the world there are marine resources. However, you should know that our seas are depleting,” he said.

Due to the challenge posed by overfishing and climate change, Tchibambelela stressed the need for industrialised aquaculture.

According to him, industrial aquaculture would provide a tool to add value to the natural resources of the seas and address the rising need for fish, both in the national as well as international markets.

Meanwhile, Esau recently said that despite huge financial injections, the aquaculture sector performed below average, with a mere 740 metric tons of fish produced last year.

Some N.dollars 38 million was injected into the sector during 2014.

“Aquaculture is a headache. I don’t know why we are not getting it right. What is the magic formula for us to get the desired results?” Esau asked the fishing sector during his annual address at Walvis Bay in April this year.

He said a collective approach is needed, as aquaculture is positioned to also contribute to food security. He revealed that the ministry is committed to diversifying the fisheries sector through national fish farming initiatives.