Andrew Kathindi

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Albert Kawana, has announced that 213 new applications for fishing quotas were approved by the Government.

This number represents 71 percent of all the successful applicants.

According to the ministry, 298 applications were successful out of the initial 5, 176 submitted in 2018.

The main beneficiaries for the quotas are applicants in the Khomas region with 11 percent with Erongo with 9,9 percent. Kavango East and Kavango West regions were the lowest with 0,6 percent and 0,4 percent applications approved respectively.

“It will also be shown that, unfortunately, some regions did not do well. The main factor is that they applied for fewer fish species such as horse mackerel and hake compared to other regions which applied for virtually all fish species,” said Kawana.

Applicants labelled “Other” accounted for 37,6 percent of all successful applications, with the Minister stating that it became difficult to identify the applicants with a particular region.

The Minister blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and his role as Attorney General during the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections for delaying the announcement of successful applicants, after applications were submitted in 2018.

A total of 85 companies that have operated in fishing sector for more than 20 years, were handed renewals of their fishing rights, which accounts for 29 percent of all successful applications.

“It must, however, be pointed out that a comprehensive study will have to be carried out in order to address the anomaly of multiple ownership and come up with reforms in this area. This will provide an equitable ownership of our natural resources,” said Kawana.

Of interest, a number of unions and charities will become beneficiaries through companies that have been awarded fishing rights.

Among them are, National Youth Council (NYC) through Namboty Fishing; the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) through Maritime Enterprises and former Ndilimani Cultural Troupe Veterans Trust.

The Swapo Veteran Trust is also a beneficiary through Ongwe Fishing, while interestingly, both the War Veteran Trust Fund and Michelle Mclean Children’s Trust is a beneficiary twice through Namsov Fishing, Diaz Fishing and Voorbok Fishing.

Other beneficiaries through the announced fishing rights are Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) and Youth Empowerment Trust through the Socio Partners Investments, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCRN) Development Trust and Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) are also beneficiaries.

“The Ministry has since learnt that there are some companies which use other people’s names and in some cases names of charities in the form of trusts but at the end of the day, such entities do not benefit. Against this background, the Ministry will leave no stone unturned and will make sure that strict mechanism will be put in place to monitor the process in order to ensure that such charities, especially those which involve children, people with disability and marginalized communities, benefit from the resources of our country.”