Fishing right owners urged to prioritise value addition

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) Bernhardt Esau urged fishing right owners to prioritise value addition to meet the criteria on 'number of jobs per Metric Tonne (MT) quota' as outlined in the scorecard.

Esau, who stressed that value addition in all species of the fishing industry, especially horse mackerel, is the way to go, more especially because it creates a reasonable amount of jobs, was speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of a new horse mackerel land-based value addition factory in Walvis Bay on Friday.

In terms of NDP5, by 2022, 70 per cent of our total 350,000MT horse mackerel total allowance catch, which is about 250,000MT, should be value added on shore, he stated.

Esau noted that of the total 16,500 direct jobs that are in our fisheries sector, hake creates about 10,000 jobs, while horse mackerel only creates less than 4,000 jobs.

I therefore urge you to take advantage of this period, as we finalise gazettement of the scorecard, to ensure that you are compliant, so that when the scorecard is fully implemented, you may have nothing to worry about.

This is the time to prepare yourself, because value addition is Government Policy, it is here to stay.

The MFMR scorecard will be implemented for performance evaluation, to determine whether fishing rights holders will keep their quotas, have them increased or lowered or completely scrapped.

The factory, which is a part of the Tunacor GroupLimited (Ldt), will feature 4,000 square meters of solar roof, which will provide enough clean and eco-friendly electricity for processing activities, which is indeed a first in our industry.

Tunacor Group Ltd Chairman Sidney Martin said that the factory will be an onshore processing and value adding facility for horse mackerel fish.

The new factory will create an additional 250 jobs, increasing the total jobs at Tunacor Group to 2,500 people, extending the lead of Tunacor as the largest employer in our fisheries sector.

'Our group understand the negative consequences of a paradigm shift on how the horse mackerel industry has been operated years ago.

The group has decided to make use of wet fish trawlers, which means it will be caught within five to seven days and processed as wet fish, Martin stated.

Source: Namibia Press Agency