Fisheries Ministry dishes out more quotas for employment redress programme

Ester Mbathera

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen on Friday signed the second designation agreement for the re-employment of fishermen who lost their jobs in the fishing sector in 2015.

According to Klazen, the agreement is in line with the Cabinet Directives on the re-employment of fishermen under the Government Employment Redressing Programme (GERP).

“We are busy trying to solve these issues. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) since I became a minister in 2021, I have been faced with these workers’ issues. This is a very busy ministry. I have to run the fisheries and marine resources of this country,” he said.

Klazen explained that the agreement doesn’t guarantee gainful employment in the fishing sector, but companies are tasked to come up with plans on how they will absorb the fishermen.

He added that the designation agreements do not afford fishermen the right to choose where to be placed.

“The agreements only require the placement of fishermen wherever an opportunity for placement arises,” he said.

He warned companies not to replace their current workforce in order to secure quota by employing ex-fishermen.

The designation agreements have been entered into between the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, as well as 15 participating companies.

Four of the companies specialise in horse mackerel, and the remaining eleven are in the hake fisheries.

A total of 18,370 metric tons of Hake quota and 16,500 metric tons of horse mackerel have been awarded to the companies to absorb the 2,483 ex-fishermen.

In October, the ministry signed the first agreement, which accounted for 50 percent of the total agreement.

Fishing mogul Ivo De Govia, who has interests in many fishing companies including Cavema and Etosha Fishing, expressed satisfaction with the conditions of the agreements.

He warned that fishermen who do not turn up for any offered job will be fired.

“They come and complain all the time, and now they cannot do that because if they do, they will be fired. That is the solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of fishermen demonstrated at Walvis Bay claiming that they are treated unfairly in the fishing industry.

“We have worked for years in this fishing industry, and we are Namibians. We need to benefit from our resources just like the rest. Please review the situation and assist us as we are old,” they said.

People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) leader, McHenry Venaani, who was also in Walvis Bay, said that while companies are making a profit, workers should get their fair share as well.

“We are demanding President Nangolo Mbumba to take charge while there is still time. What is happening in the fishing industry is corruption, and the aftermath of that corruption is Fishrot,” he said.

According to Venaani, Fishrot has reappeared in another form.

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