Fisheries sector employs 50,000 people: Minister

SWAKOPMUND: There are 50 000 people employed in the Namibian fishing industry, Minister of Fisheries and Marine resources Bernard Esau said.

He noted that such people are either working for or owning shares in 338 companies awarded fishing rights.

Esau was speaking during an interactive meeting between President Hage Geingob and some Cabinet members at Swakopmund on Friday.

The current 50 000 employment figure increased from 14 823 recorded in 2013.

During the questions time, Esmerelda Basson asked Esau to explain why the youth of Namibia do not benefit from fishing rights.

“I believe the youth does not get fishing rights and quotas and we are left out,” she said.

The minister said the youth is benefiting from the fishing rights mostly through employment.

However he also noted that Uukumwe Youth Empowerment Consortium which is owned by the National Youth Council (NYC) has rights in Horse Mackerel and seal.

“As such the youth is benefiting through this vehicle because it is owned by them,” he responded.

He continued that in allocating fishing rights and quotas, his ministry considered that all regions, young people, women, churches and disabled people benefit.

“Although some jobs are not permanent or well paying, at least these people have jobs and can feed their families,” Esau said.

Furthermore, the minister said the objective is poverty eradication through employment creation, thus the ministry is promoting growth at home by adding value to the fishing products.

“Currently we are doing research for fish biomass, if it turns out that there is enough stock , then we will invite more apple to come on board by giving them fishing rights, “said the minister.

A Total Allowance Catch (TAC) of 605 450 Metric Tonnes (MT) was allocated to fishing rights holders in the form of quotas in the 2014/15 financial year.

This is an increase from the 528 796 MT in the previous financial year.