The governments of South Africa and Namibia have agreed to strengthen existing collaboration and potential co-operation in addressing areas of common interest on fisheries.

South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana and Namibian Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau met in Windhoek, Namibia, over the weekend, ahead of the Binational Ministerial Conference to be held next month in the port city of Swakopmund, about 360 kilometres west of here.

"We have a lot to learn from Namibia on how they have managed their fisheries industry. We are looking forward to exchanging policies and frameworks on fisheries issues that affect both nations," said Zokwana.

They agreed on areas of common interest, such as phosphate mining; illegal fishing; seismic surveys: and capacity development in the southern Africa region.

The ministers also discussed the exchange of scientists between the two countries for studies on on fishery stock assessments in order to build an independent government capacity in this area of work.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department says this will entail Namibia sending three of their fishery stock assessment experts to South Africa, and South Africa in return sending three scientists to Namibia.

"Namibia has had meaningful transformative allocation of the fisheries rights through a programme of 'Namibianisation of Fisheries' in a manner that empowers and give recognition to the disadvantaged indigenous people, particularly women and the youth,"said Esau.

The ministers also undertook to do joint research surveys between South Africa and Namibia for the monitoring of trans-boundary fish stocks. The two countries are expected to finalise a Memorandum of understanding by the end of November to formalise this collaboration.