THE Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, said that the ministry takes the presence of dark vessels observed within Namibia’s ocean very seriously, stating that a total of 33 illegal fishing vessels were caught in Namibian waters last year.
Klazen made these remarks at the Ministry of Fisheries’ annual staff meeting. Klazen elaborated that the ministry carries out activities to determine, curb, and eliminate illegal fishing activities that result in fines.
He said that from 1 April 2022 to 31 December 2022, the ministry conducted 29 aerial surveillance flights, in which 89 fishing vessels and 44 cargo vessels were observed within the Namibia Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Klazen explained that the ministry has increased its surveillance on the Namibian sea, noting that only 12 aerial surveillance missions were carried out in 2021, compared to 29 in 2022.
In 2021, the minister said that 71 fishing vessels and 28 cargo vessels were observed. He, however, added that no suspicious activities were observed in 2021.
However, Klazen said that in 2022, a total of 122 vessels were observed of which, 38 were inspected and 33 were found to be fishing illegally.
Klazen said that these violations included lack of appropriate documents, required equipment and non-allowed fishing brands found on board.
Klazen said that 14 of the transgresses admitted guilty and paid a fine of N$132 600, while four court cases were opened.
Of these, one court case was finalised, whereby the defendant was found guilty and paid N$225 000.