The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations (CNFA) has reiterated its resistance to fishing activities within restricted areas.

Requests to allow fishing in breeding areas from the Wet Landed Horse Mackerel Association are yet to be approved by the Cabinet.

Last month, the Wet Landed Horse Mackerel Association asked Cabinet to allow the sector to catch fish within the restricted 200-metre zone.

The association has warned that 1300 jobs are at risk because it is a struggle to land horse mackerel.

According to the body, the fish migrates to the restricted zone during winter, leaving companies without resources to process.

According to the sector, the restricted zone is not a gazetted law because it is only mentioned in the 1997 horse mackerel rights condition document.

The association further indicated in a letter that the restriction is not based on scientific findings and that the proposed relaxation has minimal risks to conservation.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, reportedly responded to the sector in September, saying the request to the Cabinet is taking longer because a committee within the ministry is against the request.

The Confederation of Fishing Associations is another body which does not support the request.

"The 200-metre isobar restrictions were introduced for scientific reasons. The shallow waters are spawning grounds for most of the commercial species in Namibia. Fishing cannot be allowed in these waters as the disturbance of the young fish is caused by the fishing bio-mass of all the species that are important to the Namibian fishing industry, including the horse mackerel. Opening the grounds, even for a short period, will set precedent and sectors of the industry, including mining, might be enticed to also request access to these waters," warned Matti Amukwa, Chairperson of the Confederation of Fishing Associations.

Amukwa added that breaking the "no-fishing-rule" will jeopardise the Hake Marine Steward Council certification, and this restriction was a key point in attaining the certification.

Photo Credits
The Namibian
Renate Rengura