Namibia will stage activities to contribute to the promotion of 2022’s International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (Iyafa), declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, says a senior official at the Swakopmund-based Benguela Current Convention (BCC) Secretariat.
Klaudia Hilundwa, who works for the BCC’s enhancing climate change resilience in the Benguela Current fisheries sector project, told The Namibian last week that Namibia will commemorate Iyafa with a number of activities promoting the importance of artisanal fisheries and aquaculture for people’s livelihoods in Namibia.
She said activities will range from regional awareness creation, to dialogues on the importance of this economic sector.
These activities will be conducted in collaboration with BCC’s partners, such as the fisheries ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
Globally, FAO is leading activities to promote the Iyafa.
Iyafa is aimed at enhancing the world’s attention on the role small-scale fisheries, fish farms and fish workers play in food security, nutrition, poverty eradication and sustainable natural resource use.
FAO says small-scale fisheries play an important role in the daily lives of more than 40 000 Namibians, including livelihoods supported in the production sector (through direct fishing), the post-harvest sector (through fish processing) and through marketing which occurs locally, nationally and regionally.
Dried and salted Namibian fish is exported to markets as far as the DRC and Zambia, and fish production in the Zambezi region alone is estimated at 5 000 metric tonnes annually and valued at N$150 million.
However, this contribution, as well as contributions from other regions of Namibia are currently not recorded in national statistics
The fisheries ministry, the Marine Resources Act of 2000 and the Inland Fisheries Resources Act of 2003 recognise artisanal and recreational fishing but do not include small-scale fisheries.
As a result, information and data on small-scale fish workers has remained poor, rendering their roles invisible and not enabling them to benefit from focused policy supported plans, programmes and interventions, according to FAO fisheries consultant Alushe Hitula.
It is against this background that in September 2020, the fisheries ministry, with technical support from FAO, committed itself to implementing the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in Namibia in the context of food security and poverty alleviation, with the ultimate goal to develop a National Plan of Action for the Small-Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SFF) for Namibia. (See a related article here)
The project is being implemented in all 14 regions of Namibia, using a cluster approach with the primary target of the NPOA-SSF being coastal and inland fishing communities, riverine communities and those dependent on fisheries as a source of food, income and livelihood.
The development of the NPOA-SSF is being led and guided by a multi-sectoral national small-scale fisheries task force, composed of various stakeholders such as the fisheries ministry, the environment ministry, Namibia Nature Foundation, BCC, the University of Namibia and One Ocean Hub.
Towards the end of last year, FAO ran an advert calling for enumerators of Namibia’s major regional fisheries water bodies such as rivers, lakes and flood-plains.
Source Article: The Namibian