ANGOLA -Angola has launched a state-of-the-art fishing complex with a remarkable capacity to process 10,000 tons of fish every month which was officially commenced for operations in the municipality of Soyo, Zaire province.

The inauguration ceremony was led by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Carmen Neto, and the provincial governor, Adriano Mendes de Carvalho.

The impressive fishing facility, covering eight hectares in the Cadal area on the outskirts of Soyo, represents a substantial investment of over US$80 million and is the result of collaboration between the Sino-Angolan company Seatag-Pescas.

Minister Carmen do Sacramento Neto emphasized that the opening of the fishing unit aligns with Angola’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in fish production, considering the challenges posed by climate change, which have impacted fish quantities and species.

She underscored the importance of the fisheries sector in ensuring not only food self-sufficiency but also food security in the country.

“The fisheries sector plays a crucial role in providing animal protein, complementing the vegetable protein and carbohydrates supplied by agriculture.”

Minister Neto revealed that the ministry has devised a comprehensive strategy to address issues hindering greater fishing production in the country.

This strategy includes diversification beyond extractive fishing to encompass aquaculture and salt production, a vital mineral supplement.

Illegal fishing, policy challenges in Namibia

Meanwhile, Namibia is grappling with illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing activities, along with concerns about the proper utilization of fisheries policies, which are undermining the country’s ability to harness its fisheries resources for the benefit of its population.

According to Bernadus Swartbooi, leader of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), Namibia is losing approximately N$600 million annually due to IUU fishing.

He revealed that illegal fishing in Namibian waters has been an issue since 2015, with foreign trawlers licensed for Angolan waters harvesting up to 100,000 tonnes of fish illegally.

Swartbooi criticized the government’s response, citing a 2017 ministerial report that called for enhanced monitoring, control, and surveillance at the northern maritime border, which has yet to be implemented effectively.

He warned that the combination of illegal fishing and non-compliance with legal quotas could jeopardize Namibia’s fishing industry.

The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations (CNFA) also called on the government for immediate action to curb illegal fishing, advocating for increased patrols at the northern border with Angola and collaboration with the Angolan government to combat illegal fishing in Angolan waters.

Fisheries Minister Derek Klazen acknowledged the IUU fishing threat and emphasized the importance of adhering to international commitments and values in addressing the issue. He mentioned that two surveillance vessels are currently guarding Namibian waters.

Swartbooi urged stricter punishment for IUU fishing, including vessel confiscation and fines. He also called for a review of existing policies to ensure fair access for emerging private players and prioritize the well-being of Namibia’s citizens.

LPM spokesperson Lifalazi Simataa echoed the call for action, urging the Ministry, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and oversight bodies to establish a clear vision for the fisheries sector that benefits all Namibians.

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