NAMIBIA – The National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) has formally requested a financial bailout from the Namibian government, expressing concerns that its operations are at risk due to financial constraints.

The appeal comes as Fishcor faces challenges in meeting salary increases and bonuses, attributing its financial woes to questionable transactions linked to the Fishrot scandal.

In a letter addressed to Titus Ndove, the executive director of finance and public enterprises, Fishcor’s acting general manager for finance, Risto Daniel, outlined the company’s difficulties.

These include ongoing legal disputes with former partners, financial sustainability issues, and costly legal fees associated with cases involving Africa Selection Fishing Namibia (ASF) and Spanish partners Copemar.

Fishcor, holding a 40% share in Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP), has been attempting to terminate its joint venture with ASF since 2020, citing alleged irregularities.

Additionally, the company is seeking to rid itself of an agreement with Copemar in Seacope Freezer Fishing (Pty) Ltd, where Fishcor has a 51% share.

The financial strain on Fishcor is exacerbated by a joint operation with Mabasen Fishing for the harvesting of a 17,000-tonne horse mackerel quota, encountering bureaucratic constraints within the fishing vessel licensing system.

Meanwhile, Fishcor is urgently seeking funds for factory maintenance to obtain Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) certification, address short-term union demands for salary increments, and ensure the uninterrupted continuity of operations.

Former minister Helmuth Angula opposed the government bailout, stating that Fishcor’s substantial fishing quota should sustain the company without relying on subsidies

Algeria aims to diversify fishery product exports to African nations, targets US$35 million revenue

In a similar development, Algeria is set to enhance its fishery product exports to other African countries, aiming to generate more than US$35 million in revenue by the end of 2023.

Ahmed Badani, the Minister of Fisheries and Fisheries Production, disclosed this ambitious goal as part of the government’s strategy to strengthen the performance of the sector.

“Algeria’s foreign trade in fishery products has predominantly been with European countries, but the government now seeks to tap into the untapped potential within the African continent,” he said.

The move comes amidst projections of a 23% year-on-year growth in total production within the fishing and aquaculture sector, reaching 120,000 tonnes.

“The main exports of fresh or frozen fish products concern bluefin tuna, crustaceans, cephalopod molluscs, and certain other species of fish,” Minister Badani emphasized

Additionally, the country aims to bolster the processing segment of fish products, focusing on tuna and sardines. Efforts are underway to explore and study opportunities for exporting these processed products to the African continent.

Algeria currently boasts 23 units that annually produce 20,000 tonnes of processed fish products.

Official data indicates that African countries constituted only around 10% of the total shipments by value in the Algerian fishery sector, amounting to US$41.3 million in revenue in 2022.