navailability of land cripples shrimp and prawn hatchery

HENTIES BAY; Plans to develop a shrimp and prawn hatchery at Henties Bay could not materialise, mainly due to the unavailability of suitable land for the project.

Henties Bay is situated about 70 kilometres northeast of Swakopmund in the Erongo Region.

Speaking to Nampa here on Wednesday, the Chairman of the envisaged Oshana Aqua Shrimp and Prawn Hatchery Project Sackey Natangwe Aipinge said the initiative will be the first of its kind in Namibia.

Investors are said to have pledged to plough in as much as N.dollars 500 million into the project.

The Oshana Aqua Shrimp and Prawn Hatchery Project will deal with the artificially controlled hatching of shrimps and prawns for export to international markets such as the United States of America (USA) and several Asian countries.

Aipinge explained that bureaucratic red tape has been delaying the start of their project, as the piece of land which they are interested in is still in the hands of the government.

The land must first be transferred to the Henties Bay municipality who have apparently already agreed to give it over to the hatchery.

Aipinge explained that the project needs 30 to 40 hectares of land, and they identified Farm 242 of Jakkalsputz in the Dorob National Park near Henties Bay as a suitable place for the project.

The land belongs to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism who now need to de-proclaim it so that it can be given to the Henties Bay municipal council before it would eventually be transferred to and then to the Oshana Aqua Shrimp and Prawn Hatchery Project.

“We are prepared to start anytime but now everything is on hold, as we are waiting for the land to be availed. Only then would we be able to start with the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and the pilot project,” Aipinge said.

He further said should the bureaucracy continue to delay the project, they will be forced to move to a land of 20 hectares which is located some 35 kilometres northeast of Swakopmund. There is also a third option of a smaller piece of land (12 hectares) some 15 kilometres outside Walvis Bay on the main road to Swakopmund.

“These are our last two options, but as you can see the space is not enough because we need 30 to 40 hectares. If we can get that land, I guarantee that the hatchery is going to be very economical for Henties Bay,” Aipinge stated.

On her part, the Mayor of Henties Bay Aila Haufiku told this news agency on Wednesday that the council has already given the go-ahead for the allocation of Farm 242 to the hatchery project.

“There is no problem, we will allocate the land to them as soon as the government makes it available to us,” she said.

The planned one-year pilot project will provide 10 direct jobs while the full three-year project will employ 30 people directly.

Approximately 10 seasonal workers will be required in each of the 30 hectares at six-month intervals.

Fifteen to 20 indirect jobs will be created through construction and repair work.

Aipinge also gave a presentation on the project at the two-day Aquaculture and Marine Development Summit which started here on Tuesday. The summit discussed the operations, goals and challenges experienced by the various aquaculture projects in the country.

Several other entrepreneurs who attended the summit also expressed their strong concerns about the unavailability of land at the coastal towns for aquaculture projects.