Namibia suspends fishing quota law for 2022 season

Namibia Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Derek Klazen

Namibia has suspended the country’s laws on allocation of fishing quotas in order to address an anomaly encountered during last year’s fishing season.

Although the law bars any form of rolling over fishing quotas of any given year to next one, Namibia's cabinet resolved to have that provision suspended to pave the way for reallocation of the remaining uncaught fishing quotas from 2021 to this year’s fishing season.

Namibia Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Derek Klazen said his ministry has been “inundated with requests from fishing companies, individuals and entities that bought horse mackerel quota from the government objective auction held on 18 June, 2021.”

“The Cabinet of the Republic of Namibia reached a resolution to award an ex-gratia governmental objective quota of horse mackerel species to 12 companies and entities who bought governmental objective quota on auction during the 2021 fishing season,” Klazen said.

Namibia auctioned 87,500 metric tons (MT) of horse mackerel quotas in 2021, earning the government NAD 214 million (USD 14.5 million, EUR 13.2 million) in revenue.

Among the entities that bought the quotas was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which was allocated 27,000 MT for NAD 85 million (USD 5.7 million, EUR 5.2 million), but only managed to catch 1,000 MT through agreements forged with Namibian companies to catch the fish on the country’s behalf.

But the agreements with Namibian companies weren’t established until December 2021, at the very end of the fishing season, leaving little opportunity to catch the full quota. The DRC government requested it be allowed to fish the remaining quota in 2022, partly because it was allocated the total quota in October 2021 – just two months before the end of the fishing season.

Klazen attributed the huge uncaught horse mackerel to delays in conducting the 2021 auction, “which imposed time constraints on successful bidders to organize and coordinate their logistics and legal compliance documents to catching and landing their purchased quota.”

“Another contributing factor was the bad catches in the last months of the fishing season,” he said.

The Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is now in the process of reallocating 51,318 MT in horse mackerel quota to various companies and entities equal to the amount of quota not caught during the 2021 fishing season.

"This has a serious impact on our revenue, but as a caring government, we took it in cognizance that people have invested money during the auction,” Klazen said.

Reports indicate only 8,000 MT of horse mackerel may remain available for auction in 2022 after the rolling over of the uncaught 2021 quotas.

Klazen said the delay in completing the 2021 auction on time was due to factors “beyond our control,” but assured the cabinet decision “is a one-off decision and will not happen again as long as I am a minister.”

“I will not allow it to happen again, but it was due to reasons beyond our control and that is why we decided to have the auction for the remaining quota on time," Klazen said.  

Photo courtesy of the Namibia Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources


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