The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has been urged to review the seasonal fishing moratorium imposed in the Zambezi Region.
The call comes as the ban is seen as ineffective and is depriving Namibians of their livelihoods while neighbouring countries allow their citizens to continue fishing.
Tjekero Tweya, Chairperson of the Parliament Standing Committee on Natural Resources, made these recommendations in a recent report submitted to the National Assembly.
He pointed out that the ban, which is traditionally enforced each season to allow fish stocks to recover, only applies to the Namibian side of the river.
In contrast, other countries sharing the same river permit their citizens to fish throughout the season. Therefore, Namibians should have the same opportunity.
In his report, Tweya also suggested that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to resolve the ownership of six cooperative fish farms constructed by the Ministry of Trade between 2000 and 2003 in the Kavango West, East, and Zambezi Regions.
He further recommended that the Ministry of Finance formally approve the transfer of cooperative farms from the Ministry of Trade and Industry to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, as this has not been done to date.
Additionally, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources should develop a policy to regulate all cooperative farms.
The ministry, in conjunction with Regional Councils, should establish a credit facility to provide loans to prospective Small Scale Fish Farmers as start-up capital.
Tweya suggested that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources invest in plastic sheets for Fish Farms experiencing significant water seepage.
They should also install nets at all Fish Farm Inland Aquaculture Centres to mitigate predation by birds, which accounts for a 50 percent loss.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Reform should collaborate with the Ministry of Fisheries to offer expert advice and guidance to Small Scale Fish Farms on crop production to supplement their fish income.
To alleviate the high costs associated with purchasing fish feed and fishmeal, Tweya recommended that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources subsidize these items for Small Scale Fish Farms.
He also suggested exploring the possibility of a Public Private Partnership for the Fish Feed Plant at Onavivi to ensure sustainability and address funding shortages.
Additionally, the ministry should consider sourcing feed ingredients through a tender process to overcome constant shortages.
Tweya concluded by recommending the establishment of an office in Kavango West (Nkurenkuru) by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to provide technical advice to fish farming in the region, addressing challenges faced by the Rundu Office.