Major fisheries policies were set out in December 1991 in a White Paper entitled Towards Responsible Development of the Fisheries Sector. Policies outlined in this document were translated into legislation by the Marine Fisheries Act, which came into force 1 October 1992.

While environmental uncertainties must always be recognised as an issue in any strategy for the fishing industry, the government has accepted that some level of certainty for fishing companies must be in place. A clear statement of the government's intent in the development and management of the fisheries sector has thus been made and the mechanisms for long term rights and fish quotas established.

Details on the new system of long term fishing rights and vessel quotas were set out in the Policy Statement on the Granting of Rights of Exploitation to Utilise Marine Resources and on the Allocation of Fishing Quotas of 8 July 1993. Critical main sector issues are as follows:

  • Maintaining stock recovery This is required to ensure the sustainable utilisation of marine resources. This will be achieved by the promotion of stock recovery to long term sustainable yield levels through the conservation of marine resources and the protection of the Namibian EEZ. The current strategy is setting total allowable catches (TACs) at levels low enough to promote recovery of depleted stocks.
  • Compliance Control

To protect the Namibian EEZ, the Ministry will continue to curb illegal fishing and harmful fishing practices. Monitoring, control and surveillance will become an even more important issue in the future, since the enhanced status of fish stocks will become an increasingly attractive target for illegal fishing.

  • Industrial development

To ensure that gains in rebuilding fish resources are translated into economic gains in terms of increased private incomes, employment and government revenue, the industry must be given a viable economic environment. Furthermore, to ensure that the central importance of maintaining a policy environment that encourages investment is recognised. This is especially important in on-shore processing and in areas such as quality control and export promotion.

  • Namibianisation

To be able to take up opportunities provided by development of the fisheries sector, Namibians must be able to acquire skills through training. In addition, to increase the role which Namibian businesses play in the sector, supporting policies and programmes are needed for the allocation of fishing rights and quotas. This goal will be achieved by strengthening the research and training capacities of the fishing industry.

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