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Inland fishing stocks drastically declining – Klazen

Inland fishing stocks drastically declining – Klazen

Staff Reporter

THE Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, has expressed his deep concern about the magnitude of illegal fishing in inland water bodies and the decline of fishing stocks in inland fishing.

“On the inland water bodies, I am deeply concerned with the magnitude of illegal fishing activities, to the extent that citizens of our neighbouring countries are also culprits. I intend to engage my counterparts from our neighbouring countries in harmonizing our laws and enforcement,” Klazen said, speaking at the annual fishing sector address held this week.

The fisheries minister said that inland fisheries from rivers, dams, and oshanas play a vital role in the livelihoods of around 300,000 rural community members. “This fishery currently produces about 6000 tonnes with a value of about N$150 million annually. Declining fish stocks in our inland rivers, lakes, and dams prompted my ministry to engage communities to manage fisheries resources within their traditional customary land tenure systems legalized through the government gazette,” Klazen said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

He added that these community-managed fisheries or fisheries reserves created under sections 22 and 29 of the Inland Fisheries Resources Act of 2003 made Namibia a leading nation in Africa when it comes to empowering small-scale fishers in climate-smart governance of tenure and equitable access to valuable inland aquatic resources.

“Research indicated a 5-fold increase in the fish stocks at one of these reserves (Sikunga) as opposed to adjacent open-access fishing areas, thus enhancing food security and improving the nutrition of community members. The trans-boundary nature of these shared inland fisheries and mainly small-scale community-run fisheries within these basins requires a harmonized trans-boundary approach to manage such areas efficiently,” Klazen said.

He said that to this extent, his ministry participated with Angola and Botswana in the drafting of a new Transboundary Management Plan for the Cubango-Kavango-Okavango Basin with funding from USAID under the Resilient Waters Program on behalf of OKACOM (Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission) with Namibia Nature Foundation as the contracted mediating agent.

To address the challenges of Inland Fisheries, Klazen said that the MFMR is also implementing a National Plan of Action for Small Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SSF) in support of the Voluntary Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).

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