SWAKOPMUND, 15 SEP – Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhardt Esau strongly discouraged the selling of fishing quotas during the official opening of the Seafresh Factory at Walvis Bay on Friday.
“There is no future for lone rangers who, despite not having enough resources or the capacity to invest alone, complain about working together in joint ventures,” he said.
Seafresh Factory, which is part of the Tunacor Fisheries Group, will process squid from the Atlantic Ocean into squid rings and tubes for the local and international markets.
Esau urged those who already have fishing quotas and those who are yet to be allocated rights to use it to create employment for locals.
“Maximisation of jobs is not a loss-making venture as some critics argue. We must be smart and invest in value addition so that, as we employ more people to add value, we also fetch higher prices for our final products.”
He said this is a win-win scenario which Government is determined to promote.
The minister further said fishing rights mean “the right to go fishing and not the right to sell a quota.”
He congratulated Tunacor for employing over 2 000 people in its group of companies, adding that as Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, he is determined to ensure that fisheries generate the highest number of jobs per metric tonne allocated to every right holder.
“Quota allocation must be done in a way that encourages joint investment and empowerment. This is the new normal in our fishing industry,” he said.
The minister added that the government cannot sacrifice the gains made in investments in the fishing sector by allowing the sale of quotas, which leads to job losses.
The ministry has in the past carried out evaluations on fishing rights holders in order to determine whether their performance was up to standard, which in turn affected the extension of their fishing rights.
Performance requirements amongst others include employment creation, corporate social responsibility and value addition.