Fishermen Lose Jobs After Quota Cut

TRACHURUS Fishing, a subsidiary of Namsov Fishing Enterprises, was forced to lay off 120 workers after the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources cut its quota about two months ago.

Namsov Fishing Enterprises is the operating company of Bidfish, which is owned by Biest Namibia.

Daniel Imbili, the president of the Namibia Fishing Industries and Fishermen Workers Union, and the Biest Namibia chief executive officer, Sebby Kankondi, confirmed the lay offs and the reduction of the quota.

Imbili said the situation was beyond their control.

“It is now up to the ministry of fisheries.

We are currently fighting for the workers to be paid as per the Labour Act, but this is not easy.”

Deputy fisheries minister Samuel Ankama said he did not know anything about the issue. “The best person to talk to is the minister himself. He will be able to give you answers on that,” Ankama said.

Efforts to talk to the fisheries minister Bernard Esau over the weekend were unsuccessful since his phone was off, but a well-placed source in the ministry said quotas are being taken from established fishing companies and given to new companies with no knowledge or capacity. “The horse mackerel industry has become successful over a period of 20 years through sustained investment and upgrades in the fleet. However, after 2012 with the introduction of new right holders, this long- term investment view became a short-term view and was implemented in a fashion that discouraged employment, investment and the overall development of the Namibian horse mackerel industry,” the source said. Two of the workers that have been laid off said they needed an explanation from the minister of fisheries why he cut the quota.

Jakes Angula told The Namibian in a telephonic conversation that this was a big setback, especially considering they are breadwinners.

“The minister should look into this. Why take quotas from existing companies that comply fully with the policies and give them to someone who is sitting in the north and knows nothing about the fishing industry,” Angula said.

Daniel Amunyela, who also expressed the same sentiments as Angula, said: “Sitting without a job is heavy on us.”

Source : The Namibian