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A technical team led by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is in the ||Kharas Region engaging communities upstream of the Neckartal Dam.

The aim of the visit is to explore the sustainability and feasibility of developing inland small-scale fisheries on the banks of the dam.

The inter-governmental delegation's first stop was at Snyfontein in the Berseba Constituency, where the majority of nearly 300 people living in the Snyfontein area are over the age of 60.

The rest are unemployed young men and children of school-going age, and for them, the Nackaral Dam is the only source of livelihood.

Inland fishing and aquaculture resources are abundant in the ||Kharas Region, but how are communities benefiting from these natural resources?

"We are raised with fish. We have eaten fish since we were children, and now that we have the Neckartal Dam, we are eating fish. We are fishing ourselves, our brothers and fathers, everyone is fishing, even us who don't have a man back home, but we are still fishing." said Suzeth Cloete, a resident of Snyfontein,

For Paul Swartbooi, the dam has brought opportunities. "I recently received training on water safety and how to protect myself when fishing. I just hope that the government can also assist the rest of the community in learning how to catch fish so that we can feed ourselves."

Although with access to the fishing resources just on their doorstep, the committee learned of many challenges the community faces, such as a lack of basic tools to catch fish.

"In the past, we used to fish just nearby, but since the water filled up at the Neckartal Dam, we are now forced to walk long distances to catch fish. I want to ask the relevant authorities to provide us with safety gear as it can be dangerous at times to catch fish in deep waters."

Gosper Hamutenya, the Chief Fisheries Biologist, says an environmental risk assessment, feasibility study, as well as fisheries baseline reports will be produced at the end of the five-day visit to ensure sustainable management and development of fisheries resources.

He says the aim is for communities near such resources to benefit. "From here, we are going to go back and, together with our partners, we are going to compile a report to which we are going to attach deadlines and timelines as to how we are going to give feedback, because we have certain issues that we need to address, mobilize resources, and then we get back to the community. These timelines will be communicated via the counsellor to the community of Sandfontein."

The government invested N$5 billion in the construction of the Neckartal Dam, which has the capacity to hold up to 850 million cubic litres of water.

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Photo Credits
NBC Digital News

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Natangwe Jimmy