SOUTH AFRICA –South Africa and Namibia have signed a fisheries Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two countries work collaboratively to boost the fishing industry and curb illegal fishing, reports Business Day.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that the agreement poses a sigh of relief to the economy which has been losing billions of rand to illegal fishing activities and poaching.
“This [agreement] will include joint surface and aerial marine fisheries surveillance patrols; share assets used for the purpose of sea patrols and a joint observer programme to ensure compliance to those authorised to fish.
“The Benguela Ecosystem presents a myriad of opportunities which require skills and experience.
An extensive joint training operation on shared monitoring platforms, with special focus on youth and women, will be undertaken,” the department said.
The fishing sector in SA supports thousands of people who solely depend on fisheries resources for food and as a source of income to meet basic needs.
The department emphasised on the importance of maintaining or even increasing the yields from these fisheries by sustainable harvesting and the recovery of depleted stocks is therefore of paramount importance.
“SA and Namibia share a border and therefore there is transboundary of fishing species in both countries, co-management between the two countries has always been important,” said the department.
Through the agreement, the two countries will establish a specialised joint working group for the evaluation and management of shared marine resources as well as the determination of the total allowable catch and technical conservation measures.
“Both countries will carry out joint research into cultivation of marine living resources indigenous to the Benguela Current Ecosystem and indigenous inland freshwater resources, using acquired technology as far as possible,” the department added.
SA and Namibia will co-operate on capacity building, compliance systems, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, including food safety systems, in fisheries and aquaculture.
They will also work together on policies, regulatory frameworks and implementation of blue economy activities of mutual interest.
This marks the countries’commitment towards ensuring sustainable blue economy which seeks to harness potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the livelihood by utilising modern technologies and best practise to build prosperity in a sustainable manner.