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Part I Overview and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

Part II Narrative (2013)

  1. Production sector
    • Marine sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
      • Fishing communities
    • Inland sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
      • Fishing communities
    • Aquaculture sub-sector
    • Recreational sub-sector
  2. Post-harvest sector
    • Fish utilization
    • Fish markets
  3. Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector
    • Role of fisheries in the national economy
    • Trade
    • Food security
    • Employment
    • Rural development
  4. Trends, issues and development
    • Constraints and opportunities
    • Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies
    • Research, education and training
      • Research
      • Education and training
    • Foreign aid
  5. Institutional framework
  6. Legal framework
  7. Annexes
  8. References

Additional information

  1. FAO Thematic data bases
  2. Publications
  3. Meetings & News archive

Part I Overview and main indicators

Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

Country briefAugust 2015

Namibia has one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, based on the Benguela Current System.

The total annual catch in 2013 was about 486 000 tonnes, recovering from the low level of 2008-2010 but still lower than the 2003 peak at 637 000 tonnes. The main species caught in 2013 were horse mackerel (295 000 tonnes), hake (147 000 tonnes) and pilchard (25 000 tonnes). Statistics on inland water catches are not officially reported and FAO estimates the annual production at about 2 800 tonnes.

Small-scale marine fisheries are insignificant due to the absence of settlements on the hyper-arid desert coast. Annual fish consumption amounted to an average of about 13.6 kg per capita in the last decade.

Aquaculture statistics have not been reported accurately by Namibia to FAO for years. With incomplete and indirect information available to FAO, the total annual production was estimated rather conservatively to be 470 tonnes in 2013.

In 2013, exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 787 million. Most of the horse mackerel is sold frozen in the African market, while the bulk of hake and anglerfish production is exported to the European Union. In the same year, imports of fish and fishery products were worth USD 46 million.

In many respects, as a developing country, Namibia has had many achievements in fisheries management. The responsibility for fisheries and aquaculture lies with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), located in Windhoek, with major offices in Walvis Bay (Monitoring Control and Surveillance), Swakopmund (Fisheries Management and Research) and Luderitz (Aquaculture).

Due to Namibia's highly industrialized fishing industry, in 2013 only about 15 000 persons are employed in the sector, the vast majority of whom are Namibians. The only landing sites are Walvis Bay and Luderitz, with most of the processing plants and cold storage facilities located in Walvis Bay. In 2012, just under 20 000 vessels were reported in the fleet.

Due to a severe depletion of pilchard resources, the canneries are experiencing a very difficult situation. However, in 2014 there were some timid signs of recovery of the pilchard resource and the Total Allowable Catch was increased by 5 000 tonnes to 25 000 tonnes.

Namibia is Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea since April 1983 and to the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement since April 1998. In July 1995, Namibia became Party to the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement.
General geographic and economic indicators

Table 1 — Namibia — General geographic and economic indicators

Area: 823 290 km2
Shelf area: 86 700 km2
Length of continental coastline: 1 572 km
Exclusive Economic Zone: 564 700 km2
Population (2013): 2 303 000
GDP at market price (2013):

NAD 126 608 million

USD 12 755 million*

GDP per head (2013):

NAD 55 000

USD 5 540*

Agricultural GDP (2013):

NAD 7 217 million

USD 727 million*

Fisheries GDP (2013):

NAD 3 627 million

USD 365 million*

*Calculated by FAO

Key statistics

Country area824 290km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
Land area823 290km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
Inland water area1 000km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
Population - Est. & Proj.2.597millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area563 509km2VLIZ

Source: FAO Country Profile

FAO Fisheries statistics

Updated 2013Part II Narrative

Part II of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile provides supplementary information that is based on national and other sources and that is valid at the time of compilation (see update year above). References to these sources are provided as far as possible.

Production sectorNamibia’s fishery sector includes: industrialized marine capture fisheries, recreational fisheries, inland capture fisheries, mariculture and freshwater aquaculture. The exploitation of the marine resources started in the 1940s with minimal catches of sardine followed by the development of the hake fishery in the 1950s and horse mackerel and others later. Currently the hake industry is the backbone of the export-oriented fishing industry whilst the Cape horse mackerel, makes up the bulk of the catches, with average landings of 350 000 tonnes sustained over the past decade.Marine sub-sectorCatch profileNamibia’s marine capture fisheries consists of the demersal trawl fishery which targets hake and monk species, a midwater trawl fishery targeting adult horse mackerel, the purse seine fishery targeting sardine and juvenile horse mackerel, a large pelagic fishery targeting, tunas, swordfish and large pelagic sharks, and a rock lobster and deep-sea red crab fishery. The hake fleet targets two species of hake, the shallow water and deep water hakes, and is currently Namibia’s most valuable fishery. Kingklip and sole are the two major by-catch species of this fishery, with the former landed in appreciable quantities for export. The midwater trawl fishery targets horse mackerel, whilst the purse seine fishery targets sardine for canning purposes and juvenile horse mackerel, anchovy and sporadically sardinella for fishmeal processing. The large pelagic sub-sector, which was established after Namibia’s independence in 1990, commenced with the pole and line fishery targeting albacore tuna. As the industry developed and expanded, a sashimi longline fleet was introduced, and a pelagic longline fleet which freezes fish at temperatures warmer than the sashimi vessels, targeting other tunas, swordfish, large pelagic sharks and shortfin mako. A small localized rock lobster fishery, and a deep sea red crab fishery also operate in the Namibian waters, the latter also operating outside the EEZ. The linefish fishery is made up of two subsectors, the commercial freezer lineboats and the angling subsectors. The angling subsector is further divided into two types of fishing activities, a subsistence component and a recreational component. The species most targeted by this sector are kob or kabeljou, steenbras and galjoen, with snoek and others in less demand. The 2012 reported landings for the quota species amounted to 359 847 tonnes compared to 406 099 in 2011, in spite of increases in the TAC of most fisheries. In addition 20 431 tonnes of by-catch and other species were also landed bringing the total to380 278 tonnes in 2012.

Table 3 – Namibia - Harvest of the main commercial species, 2006-2012 (tonnes)

SPECIES 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Pilchard 2 316 23 522 18 755 20 137 20 229 31 774 22 249
Hake 137 771 125 534 117 286 137 312 127 196 149 816 138 432
Horse mackerel 309 980 201 660 186 996 215 051 185 673 210 160 184 795
Monk 9 816 8 932 7 270 6 922 7 904 7 243 10 736
Crab 2 228 3 245 2 100 1 577 766 2 285 1 106
Rock lobster 285 153 195 43 82 166 87
Orange roughy 545 255 NA NA NA NA NA
Tuna 2 903 4 596 3 281 4 241 2 024 4 655 2 442
Kingklip 4 493 4 366 3 424 4 380 4 810 3 045 4 559
Other fish species 39 891 40 408 12 973 15 791 12 917 29 340 15 872
Total fish harvest 510 228 412 671 352 280 405 454 361 601 438 484 380 278
Seals (Numbers) 83 045 34 728 47 603 41 145 47 821 67 764 22 249
Sources: MFMR statistical division.
Landing sitesThe catches from the marine capture fishery are landed at two major ports, at Walvis Bay and Luderitz, with the majority of the landings made at the centrally located port of Walvis Bay due to its proximity to the major fishing grounds and easier access. Fishing practices/systemsThe Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources encourages the right holders to add value to fisheries products, and undertake onshore processing, to create employment and increase income to the country.

Demersal Fisheries

The demersal fleet is composed of around 60 demersal trawlers, of which about 10 are freezer trawlers (19-77 m length) with capacity in the range of 1200 - 3000 gross registered tonnage (GRT), and the rest wet fish trawlers (19-55 m length) of a lesser capacity. Sixteen longliners are currently operating in the hake fishery. The catch made by the freezer trawlers are processed at sea while that by the wet fish trawlers is offloaded at onshore factories for processing. Sixteen smaller freezer bottom trawlers (100 – 800 GRT) operate in shallower waters for monkfish.

Midwater Fishery

Sixteen midwater trawlers in the 97 – 120 m length and the 2624-7805 GRT capacity ranges are licensed to harvest adult horse mackerel in the waters offshore of the 200 m isobath. The vessels employ large pelagic trawl nets with a cod-end mesh size of 60 mm to catch schools of horse mackerel in the midwater. The vessels are equipped with small fishmeal plants where off-cut products, undersized fish and unwanted by-catch are processed into fishmeal, whilst the principal species is packed as whole round. The horse mackerel sector is also beginning to develop onshore processed value added products, such as a canned horse mackerel and baked bean product.

Purse seine Fishery

The number of purse seiners (21- 47 m length) licensed to harvest sardine and industrial fish (juvenile horse mackerel, anchovy, round herring and sardinella) currently stands at 9. Catches of sardine are pumped in holds where cold sea-water, cooled down to about 2 degrees, is circulated to keep them fresh for canning at factories in Walvis Bay.

Large pelagic Fishery

A fleet of 45 pole and line and 24 longline vessels were licensed to fish for tunas, swordfish and pelagic sharks. In 2009 the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources introduced a Value Addition Criterion in this sector, which requires that 50 percent of all landed fish be processed locally. Due to difficulties encountered in implementing the Criterion, it was later relaxed to a ratio of 70:30 for the freezer vessels and 60:40 for the wetfish vessels.Rock lobster Fishery Twenty one rock lobster trap vessels (18 – 20 m), 3 of which were South African chartered, are currently licensed. The catch is sorted on deck and undersized lobsters are returned to the sea and the legal size retained and landed at the factories in Luderitz. During the last fishing season (2012/2013) only one lobster factory was operating. Effort is regulated through limitations of traps per vessel, of around 100150.

Deep sea red crab Fishery

In 2012 this fishery expanded to 4 trap vessels (≈55 m length) from the 2 that have been operating since the country’s independence in 1990. The vessels use Japanese beehive traps or pots and can process between 200 and 1200 traps per day.

Linefish and angling Fisheries

About 10 linefish boats catching snoek and 2 commercial ski boats catching kob around Swakopmund operate in this fishery. Recreational ski-boats and anglers are also active in this fishery.

Orange roughy Fishery

Exploratory fishing for this resource commenced in 1994 on deep sea mounts, using deep sea trawlers and subsequent high catches were made for the next five years. Thereafter the catches declined considerably, prompting the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to impose a moratorium in 2008. The Fishery will only re-open when a survey is conducted to evaluate the state of this stock.

Cape fur seals

Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) are harvested on three mainland colonies at Wolf and Atlas Bay around Luderitz and Cape Cross. Seven concessionaries hold a right to harvest seals. The animals are transported to factories in Luderitz and Henties Bay where they are processed into several product forms aimed for export and local use.
Main resourcesThe principal stocks harvested for commercial purposes in the Namibian waters and regulated through the allocation of a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and for which surveys are conducted annually to determine the status of the stocks are: the two species of hake, Merluccius capensis and Merluccius paradoxus, also known as the shallow water and deep water hakes respectively, monk (Lophius vemerinus), horse mackerel (Trachurus capensis and Trachurus trecae), sardine (Sardinops sagax), deep sea red crab (Chaceon maritae) and rock lobster (Jasus lalandi). An allocation of pups and bulls is also made annually to concessionaries in the seal industry.

Hake stocks
The hake resources of Namibia were severely exploited and by the time of the country’s independence very low biomass levels of around 700 000 tonnes were reported. Management efforts to rebuild the stocks prevented further declines and enabled some increase in the biomass. Biomass estimates made during the recent swept area survey estimated the stock to be around 1.4 million tonnes. The stock has however, still not reached its pre-independence biomass levels, possibly due to environmental conditions, which often led to poor recruitment. Up to about 90 percent of the hake resource is made up of the shallow water hake. The deep water hake is, however, crucial to the freezer trawler fleet, which is capable of operating in deeper waters where the species occur. The overall TAC for this species for the fishing season ending in April 2014 is set at 140 000 tonnes.

Monkfish stock
Fishing rights to catch monkfish and sole were granted in 1994 for the first time and from that time until 2000 the fishery was regulated through effort control, which limited access to 20 vessels and a restriction of 800 HP capacity.The monkfish stock biomass has remained relatively stable since biomass surveys started being employed in 2000. Over the past decade the stock has oscillated around a biomass of 350 000 tonnes sustaining an average yearly TAC of about 10 000 tonnes. The overall TAC for this species for the fishing season ending in April 2014 is set at 14 000 tonnes.

Horse mackerel stock
The horse mackerel stock, with a biomass of nearly two million tonnes is currently the most abundant commercial fisheries resource. The stock has on average sustained landings of around 300 00 tonnes and continues to be in a relatively healthy state. The TAC for horse mackerel for the 2013 fishing season is set at 350 000 tonnes, with a small fraction (15 000 tonnes) allocated to the purse seine industry for industrial purposes.

Sardine stock
Historically sardine was the most abundant of the commercial fisheries in Namibia, but decades of over-exploitation and subsequent collapse of the resource before the country’s independence has drastically reduced its economic potential. The TAC allocation to this fishery for the 2013 fishing season is 25 000 tonnes. Over the past two decades the stock has fluctuated below a million tonnes and has reached very low levels in 1996, 2001 and 2007, in spite of the Ministry’s rigorous management attempts and very low TACs. Environmental factors leading to low recruitment over the two decades and very high mortality are believed to be driving the state of the stock.

Deep sea red crab
The deep sea red crab resource is one of Namibia’s management success stories. From 1990 the stock has increased nearly threefold and is currently estimated to be around 30 000 tonnes. Despite the increases in the stock, TACs have been maintained at low levels to enable it to grow further for optimal benefits to be derived later. A TAC of 3 150 tonnes was set for deep sea red crab for the 2013 fishing season.

Rock lobster stock
The rock lobster stock has shown sharp declines, especially from 2000 until 2006, but has been relatively stable since then. A TAC of 350 tonnes was set for rock lobster for the 2013 fishing season. The fishing season runs from November to April the following year.

Cape fur seals
Recent surveys have indicated that the number of seals along the mainland colonies in Namibia has been increasing over the years and is currently standing at about 1.2 million animals, which is comparable to historical levels before harvesting commenced. A three year rolling TAC is set for the seal fishery and is 80 000 pups and 6 000 bulls. The harvest of females is prohibited.

Large pelagics
Stock assessment for the large pelagic resources falls under the jurisdiction of ICCAT. Namibia, however, collects all the necessary data in line with protocols set up by this body. Stock estimates by the Scientific Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) within ICCAT have indicated that most of these fish are either overfished or around MSY. An overall TAC of 24 000 tonnes shared between Chinese Taipei, Brazil, Namibia, South Africa and Uruguay was allocated for South Atlantic albacore for 2013, of which Namibia received 5000 tonnes. Namibia maintains aTAC of 1 168 tonnes for swordfish and 2 100 tonnes for big eye tuna.

Linefish stocks

The linefish stocks are constituted of the following species, kob, snoek, west coast steenbras, galjoen, blacktai and barbell. The most important of these in terms of landings is snoek, of which about 1 500 tonnes were caught in 2010. The last stock assessment conducted on the linefish resources was done in 2006 and their state is still to be re-evaluated. However, due to low catches in stocks such as cob, west coast steenbras and galjoen, a moratorium on commercial fishing on these was put in place.

Table 4 – Namibia - Total Allowable Catches, 2006-2013 (1000 tonnes)

SPECIES 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Pilchard 25 15 15 17 25 25 31 25
Hake 130 130 130 135.5 140 180 170 140
Horse mackerel 360 360 230 230 247 310 320 350
Monk 9.5 9.5 9.5 8.5 9 13 14 10
Crab 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.7 2.7 2.85 3.1 3.15
Rock lobster 0.420 0.350 0.350 0.350 0.275 0.350 0.350 0.350
Orange roughy 11 0.900 0.900 0 0 0 0 0
Source: MFMR statistical division.

Management applied to main fisheriesThe vision of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, as stipulated in its Strategic Plan (2009 – 2014), is for Namibia to be a leading fishing nation with a well developed aquaculture sector. Currently Namibia is one of the largest seafood producers in Africa and has a modern fishing industry with a great potential for growth. The immediate objective of the Ministry following the country’s independence was to rebuild the fisheries resources, which were previously severely exploited. In so doing the Ministry had to implement a rigorous management system, which includes a fishing right allocation system, a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and a quota allocation system based on stock estimates from scientific surveys and stock assessment for all the target species, a Monitoring, Control, Surveillance (MCS) programme, including a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to protect and ensure compliance with the regulations, the prohibition of trawling in waters shallower than 200 meters where most of the spawning and nursery areas lie and stock specific management measures such as:

A minimum landing size limitation of 35 cm total length, a cod-end mesh size limitation of 110 mm, an area limitation of no fishing in waters <300 m isobaths south of 25˚ 00’ south latitude and a closed fishing season during October, with the last two measures introduced in 2005.

A minimum landing? Capture? Marketing? size and cod-end mesh size limitations of 75 cm and 110 mm, respectively are enforced in this fishery.

Horse mackerel
The horse mackerel fleet is restricted to a cod-end mesh size of 60 mm and a landing? Capture? Marketing? size limitation of >17 cm for the midwater fleet and <12 cm for the purse-seine fleet targeting juveniles for industrial purposes. The midwater fleet is only allowed a 5 percent (by weight) by-catch of hake in each haul and no pilchard landings.

A minimum mesh size of 12 mm and closure of areas on a need be basis are the only restrictions applied to this fishery.

Large pelagic
The ICCAT catch documentation is in force. Furthermore, only pole and line and longline gears are allowed in Namibia.

Deep sea red crab
The fishery is restricted to pots or traps, and no fishing in waters shallower than 400 m depth.

Rock lobster
A landing? Capture? Marketing? size limitation of 65 mm carapace length, no landing of females, and effort limitation of no more than 150 traps per vessel. Persons catching rock lobster for recreational purposes may not catch more than seven animals per day or accumulate more than seven lobsters.

A permit is required to harvest linefish resources for all purposes, including recreational and subsistence. Recreational and subsistence anglers are restricted to fishing methods of hook and line, ring net and diving and may not catch more than 30 barbels (Galeichthys feliceps), 20 snoek (Thyrsites atun) and one shark per day. A total of not more than ten of each of blacktail (Diplodus sargus), galjoen (Dichistius capensis), kob (Argyrosomus sp.) and westcoast steenbras (Lithognatus aureti) is allowed per day. Area restrictions and use of bait and transport prohibitions are also enforced in the harvesting of the linefish resources.

Cape fur seals
Only non selective harvesting of pups and bulls at three colonies of over 26 colonies, is allowed in Namibia. Moreover, strict harvesting practices in the presence of the Ministry’s fisheries inspectors and scientists are enforced. The harvesting season is outside the major breeding period, which starts around the end of November and lasts until January.In 2012 Namibia gazetted the Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area that encompasses a large area around the islands in the south to protect endangered bird species breeding on these islands.A Marine Resources Advisory Council, consisting of all stakeholders in the sector is established to advise the Minister on the TAC allocations and other management measures. By lawall vessels fishing in the Namibian waters are to have fisheries observers on board who serve a dual purpose of monitoring compliance with the regulations as well as collecting the basic scientific data on the fish caught.Furthermore the vessel monitoring regulations stipulate that all vessels conducting fishing activities in the Namibian waters must have an automatic location communicator (VMS) installed, unless otherwise exempted by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Management objectives

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources strategic objectives towards the management of its resources are to:
  • promote sound management of Namibia’s living marine resources;
  • promote the health of the entire Benguela upwelling ecosystem;
  • promote regional and international collaboration;
  • promote a conducive environment for the fishing industry to prosper;
  • promote its image and improve the performance of its staff members through targeted training programmes so as to enhance Namibia’s capacity to manage fisheries and marine resources; and to
  • achieve optimal yields of its fisheries resources for the development of the country’s economy.

Management measures and institutional arrangementsThe Namibian Management system for marine capture fisheries consists of a number of components that each plays a part in contributing to fisheries management.Namibia is strongly opposed to the subsidy policies of other nations, both on the grounds that subsidies cause over-capitalization which leads to over-fishing, and because subsidies distort trade unfairly and thus the fishing industry in Namibia is not subsidized. A tax system, especially through the quota fees is instead in place. Fee rebates apply to Namibian vessels, Namibian crew and processing on-shore. The government directed a policy for the hake fishery aimed at promoting onshore processing through which 70 percent of the hake TAC is issued as a wet-fish quota, which is landed on ice and processed on land and the remaining for freezer trawlers processed at sea.Overall, the Namibian fisheries did not benefit from manufacturing incentives and tax relief incentives offered to other industries in Namibia. However, there are considerable fuel rebates (I thought the fuel rebate was only on the diesel fuel Road Users Tax as fishing vessels do not use the road?)for Namibian companies according to criteria linked to the grade of operation, ownership, the flagging of the vessel and the employment share of Namibians. To support Namibianization and empowerment policies, fishing rights and quotas are given (only??/mostly??) to Namibian controlled ventures.The Government of Namibia maintains a management regime that includes allocation of fishing rights, setting annual total allowable catches and allocation of quotas to right holders.Fishing rights or harvest rights of exploitation represent the central component of the fisheries management regime. The allocation of rights is spelled out in the Marine Resources Act, 2000. Section 33 of the Act provides for the granting of rights of exploitation to utilize marine resources, and section 39 for the allocation of quotas in respect of particular species.The main purpose of the right is to limit entry to the fisheries sector to keep catches sustainable. The rights are granted for periods of 7, 10, 15 or 20 years depending on various factors (e.g. degree of Namibian ownership, investment in vessels and onshore processing facilities). The number of right holders increased from 212, of which 58 were granted for seven years, 26 for ten years and 128 for fifteen years in 2010 to 338 in 2013. The increase was due to new rights that were granted in 2011 in order to increase the access of Namibians to the fisheries. Furthermore the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources also re-evaluated the existing rights that were due to expire in 2010 and extensions to the next categories were made for some.Fishing rights are not freely transferable in Namibia or, rather, not transferable permanently except in association with sale of a vessel and the approval of the Minister. Right holders can enter into a catch agreement with a third party should they not be in a possession of a vessel. Unutilized quotas are returned to the Ministry before the closure of the fishing season so that these can be reallocated.The prohibition for transfer of rights and quotas is imposed to ensure that the progress made in the goals of Namibianization and empowerment of Namibians is not jeopardized. As part of the ‘Namibianization’ policy, foreign newcomers have to form joint ventures with Namibians as a precondition for long-term fishing rights and quotas since 2000. Scope is, however, provided for foreign wholly owned foreign ventures, especially in onshore processing.
Fishing communitiesThe fishing industry is organized in associations, each representing a sub-sector, under the umbrella of the Confederation of the Namibian Fishing Associations. The hake sector is represented by the Hake Association, the horse mackerel midwater fishery by the Midwater Association, the purse seine fishery by the Small Pelagics Association, the monk fisheries by the Monk Association, the large pelagic fisheries by the Large Pelagics Association, and the rock lobster fishery by the Rock Lobster Association.
Inland sub-sectorNamibia’s inland capture fisheries are mainly localized in the Kavango and Caprivi regions on the Kavango river and Lake Liambezi, but limited activities also take place along the Cuvelai basin as well as the Kunene river in the north-west and the Orange river in the south. About 21 species are harvested, including tilapias, catfish and tiger fish, with the Cichlidae contributing more than 60 percent to the total catches. The fishing season and catches vary annually and seasonally depending on the rains and flooding. The inland fisheries are mainly subsistence with 60 percent of the households in the Caprivi and Kavango regions depending primarily on it for food supply. The surplus is sold at local fish markets where it is bought mostly by Zambians and transported to fish markets in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. The earnings from the fishery meet the basic needs of fishers such as clothing, school fees and other foodstuff. Catch profileA total annual catch of 5 340 tonnes has been estimated for the inland fisheries in 2012. The catches from the Caprivi (mostly Lake Liambezi) and Kavango regions contributed up to 90 percent of the total catch and the Cuvelai basin the rest. In 2011 and 2012 the catches from the Caprivi region alone totaled 1 634 and 1 963 tonnes respectively, with estimated respective values of 1.3 million and 1.5 million USD. The marked increase in the catches is the result of the flooding of Lake Liambezi since 2008, which has been relatively dry before then.Landing sitesThe number of landing sites in the inland capture fisheries is extremely difficult to determine because many points exist along the rivers and floodplains and the fishers keep changing sites. Two permanent sites are, however, located at Lake Liambezi, from where the majority of the fish caught in the Caprivi region emanate. Fishing practices/systemsIn areas with flood plains, mostly traditional gears, including Fish Kraal, of which women are reported to be the main users, are used. The trap is constructed from reeds and sedges and is baited with locally available materials such as millet porridge or grain husks. Fish spears constructed from long, light reeds tipped with barbed metal points are also mainly used by men to spear individual fish. Fish bow and arrows and baited hooks and line are also used. Fishing baskets with a large opening constructed from plant material are frequently used by women to trap fish in shallow waters. The modern gears are mostly used in deeper waters and include gill nets, which are mainly used by men. The net is suspended in deeper waters along the bank when floods are in. Around 1 900 dugout canoes also locally known as makolos are used to launch the nets along the rivers and lakes in the Kavango and Caprivi regions.Main resourcesSurveys of fish markets in the Caprivi region have indicated that of twenty two species caught, tilapias, mainly Oreochromis andersoni, Tilapia rendalli and Oreochromis macrochir make up the bulk of the of the catches made in this region both in terms of weight and numbers. The three species together make up more than 60 percent of the total catch, followed by Serranochromis macrocephalus and Hydrochromus vittatus, each contributing about 10 percent by weight and catfish, Clarias gariepinus contributing about 6 percent. The recent biannual biological survey conducted by the Ministry to collect biological data on the Kavango river resources on the other hand found species such as Synodontis nigromaculatus to be the most abundant in terms of numbers and tiger fish Hydrocynus vittatus to be more abundant in terms of weight.Management applied to main fisheriesThe management measures applied in the inland fisheries capture sector are stipulated in the Inland Fisheries Resources Act (Act 2003) wherein restrictions in the type and number of nets, mesh sizes and methods are set. In accordance with the regulations only gillnets are to be used and shall not be more than 100 meters in length or more than 3 meters in height. Only 4 gillnets per person are allowed. A person is neither allowed to use the dragging and bashing of net methods nor to fish at night. The mesh size of gillnets of 76 mm are allowed for the Zambezi River system and the Kunene River, whilst that of 45 mm is allowed for the Kavango River. No nets are allowed for the Orange River. Area prohibition whereby persons are not allowed to fish in canals used for bulk water supply, irrigation purposes and hydroelectricity are also enforced. Recreational fishing licenses are issued by the Traditional Authorities. A recreational license holder is not allowed to use more than 2 rods and 2 lines with hooks attached. A bag limit of not more than 10 fish in the aggregate of any species per day is allowed. A recreational angler is not allowed to catch more than two tiger fish in one day. Size limits are set for most of the fish caught. The sale of fish caught by recreational fishermen is not allowed. These measures are enforced through regular MCS activities by the Inspectors of the Directorate of Operations located at the Inland Aquaculture Centers (IAC) in Inland Fisheries areas.Fishing communitiesThe fishermen in the Caprivi region are mostly of Subia origin, restricted to residents of the villages of Muyako, Kalengwe and Mahundu, Zilitene/Kwena, Masokotwani and Lusu, which are in the vicinity of Lake Liambezi where most of the fishing activities occur. Villagers from afar also set up temporary camps to fish in the lake. Experienced fishermen from Zambia also fish on the lake. The fresh fish is sold to local and foreign traders at the two landing sites. The foreign traders process the fish by splitting and drying or storage in salt water while still at the site. The fish destined for local markets is transported by taxis to markets at Bukalo and Katima Mulilo.Aquaculture sub-sectorThe aquaculture sector of Namibia consists of a marine and freshwater sub-sector. The relatively new marine subsector is mainly focused on the production of molluscan shellfish, and nine farms along the coast with nodes at Walvis Bay-Swakopmund, Luderitz and Oranjemund are operational. Two species of oysters, Crassostrea gigas and Ostrea edulis, are cultivated in open water on long-lines and in shallow inshore flow-through systems in baskets. Spat is produced locally in a hatchery in Swakopmund. The oyster industry is presently expanding with significant investment being made. A single farm in Luderitz and hatchery focus on abalone (Haliotes midae) and spat production.Total marine aquaculture production in Namibia in 2011 totaled 525 tonnes valued at about NAD 37 million, of which 495 tonnes were oysters and around 16 tonnes abalone. Several oyster farms around Walvis Bay closed down due to hydrogen sulphide eruption events that occurred in 2008 and 2010. Mariculture activities in Namibia are regulated through the Aquaculture Act of 2002.The Act complements the quality control measure for fish and aquaculture products applied by the Competent Authority, the Namibia Standards Institute (NSI). An Aquaculture Advisory Council was established to advise the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources as prescribed in the Act. Aquaculture activities are controlled by issuing licenses. The Environmental Management Act of 2007 governs the process for acquiring an Environmental Clearance Certificate to start aquaculture production, whilst a strategy for the development of a marine aquaculture sector is outlined in the Aquaculture Strategic Plan of 2004.In spite of the high priority and investment afforded by the Government of Namibia to the development of aquaculture, as acknowledged in the National Development Plans (NDP2, NDP3 and NDP4) and Vision 2030, freshwater aquaculture production has remained low since the establishment of the sector. The Ministry has set up Inland Aquaculture Centers (IAC) and farms throughout the country and a fish-feed plant with an annual capacity of 1 200 tonnes to support technical development. Furthermore, a hatchery has been constructed to supply small scale fish farmers with fingerlings. Additional to the six community-based fish-farm projects established by the government in the Kavango and Caprivi regions (four of which are still operational), the government is also presently busy with initiatives in the Karas and Omaheke regions.The tilapia species, Oreochromis andersoni and catfish, Clarias gariepinus, currently dominate the freshwater aquaculture initiatives in Namibia, though exotic species such as Oreochromis niloticus and Oreochromis mossambicus are farmed for commercial purposes at Hardap in the Karas Region. The spreading of exotic species is prohibited in Namibia and is addressed in the Master Plan for Aquaculture.The Ministry has recently launched the National Aquaculture Master Plan (2013-2023), which provides a roadmap for a sustainable and profitable development of the marine and freshwater aquaculture sectors for the benefit of the Namibian people. The Plan was guided by the FAO Code of Conduct, lessons learned from the region and past national initiatives.Recreational sub-sectorThe Namibian coast is a haven for recreational activities, especially during the holiday month of December. A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources revealed that half of the anglers are Namibians and the rest are from the SADC region. The survey also indicated that the majority (84 percent) of the anglers were males and the rest females. Seventy nine percent of the anglers engaged in beach angling, 13 percent in rock angling and 4 percent in ski boat fishing. Overall the effort applied by the recreational fishery is very low in comparison with that of the commercial linefish subsector. The main species targeted by the recreational anglers are kob (36 percent), steenbras (28 percent) and galjoen (25 percent). A total expenditure in accommodation, fishing materials and equipment and fuel of about USD 45 million was reported for this subsector in 2011. Recreational anglers are by regulation required to be in possession of a permit, which is sold by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources at a monthly price of USD 1.4. Through the sale of permits the Ministry has generated around USD 300 000 in 2011.

In addition to the regulations highlighted above in section “Management applied to main fisheries (Linefish) , by law fishing for recreational purposes is only allowed in:
  • Terrace Bay and Torra Bay;
  • From the Ugab river to Walvis bay;
  • Pelican point to Sandwich Harbour;
  • From southern limits of Diaz Point to Grosse Bucht;
  • From Pomona Island to the Orange River.

Post-harvest sectorFish utilizationIn general the total fish harvest from marine fisheries has declined over the past years, with an average of about 372 thousand tonnes reported as compared to that of the previous 5 years of over 550 000. The decline in production has mainly been a result of the adaptive management response to the low biomass estimated for most of the resources. Horse mackerel catches are mostly trans-shipped within port limits, but the majority of the catches from the other fisheries are landed in Lüderitz or Walvis Bay for processing and value addition. Processing activities include filleting, canning, steaks, heading and gutting, fishmeal and fish oil production.Hake is currently processed into the following products: fresh fish on ice in which the guts are removed and the fish is preserved on ice for airfreight overseas. Frozen retail packs, typically produced in 400-600 gram boxes sold directly to end-consumers through retail outlets such as supermarkets, freezer food stores and European distributors. Frozen catering packs, these are typically 5 to 10 kg of either frozen headed and gutted fish or frozen fillets (skin-on or skinless) and also fish mince, blocks, sausages, roes, loins, portions and wings.

Monk is processed into various product forms, the main products include skin-on/tail-on individually wrapped portions (IWP) or skin-off and tail-off IWP processed at sea and packed frozen into 10 kg boxes for the catering (food service industry) trade. A very small amount is processed into 200 gram retail packs of frozen boneless fillets, processed ashore for retail markets and the frozen fillets or de-boned tails sold in small volumes to exclusive restaurants.Horse mackerel is frozen at sea into block frozen 30 kg packs. These packs contain three 10 kg blocks of whole, round quick frozen horse mackerel. Otherwise processing involves sun-drying and fishmeal production. Initiatives are also in progress to produce smoked and canned horse mackerel products. Pilchard is almost entirely canned.Rock lobster is processed ashore and product forms include cooked and frozen whole lobster and tails and also uncooked frozen whole lobster and tails.Tuna and large pelagics (swordfish, marlin, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna and shark) are gilled and gutted, then blast frozen at sea. The large pelagics industry is currently attempting to produce tuna steaks in line with the new Value Addition Criterion introduced by the Ministry. Sharks are processed into gutted, headed and tailed trunks, whilst cultured oyster and abalone are exported live and frozen.
Fish markets

Local markets

Namibians are traditionally not fish eaters and the majority of the marine capture fisheries and mariculture products are exported to foreign markets. The main fish species in the local markets are unprocessed products such as horse mackerel, small size hake (baby hake) snoek, angelfish (a bycatch of the midwater fishery) and dentex (a by-catch in the hake fishery). Of these horse mackerel is the most popular because it is readily available, cheaper and easy to prepare. Inland fish, on the other hand, are marketed closer to the landing sites, but in low quantities.

International markets

The country exports more than 90 percent of its fisheries production in various product forms, primarily to international markets including EU, USA, the Far East as well as African markets. Fish exports accounted for around 13 percent of total exports in Namibia.The Namibian hake fishery largely depends on the traditional European markets. Spain remains the biggest importer of the Namibian hake products. The products that are not absorbed in the Spanish markets are distributed further to other markets in Europe, including Portugal, France, Italy, Holland and Germany. The global economic crisis led to a decrease in the quantities of hake exported to Spain, with only 49 percent and 61 percent exported in 2009 and 2010, respectively as compared more that 70 percent the previous years. Efforts by sector to diversify markets led to the establishment of markets in South Africa, now the second largest importer, and other African markets. A small portion of the products is also destined for the markets in the USA.The monkfish fishery has established international markets in Europe, the Far East (Korea and Singapore), Australia, USA and Africa. Spain and Italy remain the two leading European markets, but some products are also exported to France and Portugal. In 2012 exports to Spain corresponded to 84 percent of the monk products, Italy 11 percent, South Africa 4 percent and Korea 1 percent.Horse mackerel is mainly exported to African markets, with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique accounting for up to 87 percent of exports. Ten percent is exported to Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria and the remaining 3 percent is consumed locally.The major destination for the Namibian sardine is South Africa to where up to 85 percent are exported in the form of canned products (in tomato and chili sauce). Sardine products in the form of frozen cutlets are also sold to Thailand and Malaysia. The Japanese, Chinese, South African, Chilean and Turkish markets import fishmeal, whilst fish oil is sold to Turkey. Markets to which large pelagic products are sold include, Japan, Spain and USA in the form of fresh and frozen, (-60 ˚C) for sashimi purposes for the Japanese market, and fresh and frozen (-24 ˚C) for the European market. The products reaching Japan are auctioned at the Tsukiji Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The deep sea red crab is cooked, frozen and packed on board the vessels and is exported to markets in Japan, China and Spain, whilst a few are consumed locally. The crab exported to these markets is in the form of portions comprising of claws, flakes, legs and sections. Live crabs are also exported to markets in Japan, Malaysia, Middle East, South Africa and the USA. About 95 percent of the rock lobster products are exported to the Japanese markets and the rest in the Spanish and USA markets. The products are exported either as whole cooked frozen or frozen tails. The majority of the frozen tails are exported raw. The linefish catches are mostly sold to South Africa, with some absorbed in the local market at a price of about USD 2.5/kg. Markets in which the Namibian seal products are sold include, Turkey, China, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Congo Brazzaville. The products sold in the African markets are mostly encapsulated seal oil, whilst dried seal genitals are exported to China.Cultured oysters are exported to South Africa and South-East Asia, especially Singapore, Hong Kong and China, while cultured abalone is exported to Japan and China.
Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sectorThe fishing industry remains one of the highest contributors to Namibia’s economy and is second after the mining sector in terms of export earnings and third in terms of contribution to GDP. The sector plays a crucial role in production, foreign exchange earnings to government, government revenue and employment. Aquaculture on the other hand has a potential for employment creation and food security to Namibia’s previously disadvantaged communities.Role of fisheries in the national economyOver the past several years the fisheries sector has positioned itself as one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP. This contribution is essentially the gross income earned, wages and salaries, gross profits and indirect revenues from fish production and does not include the value of intermediary inputs and is therefore much less than the value of production. During 2012 the marine capture fisheries sector contributed 3.8 percent to the country’s GDP, which is a slight improvement compared to 2011, and is currently ranked third after agriculture and mining. The contribution from fishing and fish processing on board of the vessels far outweighed that of processing onshore. The landed value increased from 410.2 million USD in 2010 to 440.1 million USD in 2011. The increase can be attributed to positive factors in the major markets, including increases in the fish prices and a favorable exchange rate.

Table 5 – Namibia - Fisheries contribution to GDP 2007-2011 (million USD at current exchange rate USD 1~NAD 10.185)

Contribution to GDP 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Fishing and fish processing on board 194.8 233 241.1 252.3 253.9 270.9
Processing onshore 65.7 90.3 99.3 95.1 78.5 54.8
Total 260.5 323.3 340.4 347.3 322.4 325.7
% of GDP 4.8 5.3 4.7 4.6 3.7 3.6
Source. MFMR Policy Planning and Economics Directorate

TradeDespite Namibia being a major producer of fish products, the demand for the products in the local market is very low. In 2011 a harvest of about 420 000 tonnes of marine capture fisheries with a final value of 512.6 million USD was made. About 95 percent of these products were mostly traded to European, Far East, African markets and to a small extent the USA, generating the country 498.4 million USD as foreign exchange earnings, which is important to sustaining employment in the industry and the country’s economy. Given the country’s small local market the import of fisheries products is also minimal and mostly confined to canned products such as tunas, mackerels and herring from the Far East and USA. Given the country’s dependence on foreign markets, the Namibian government recently put in place several incentives to stimulate the manufacturing sector (under which the fisheries sector is grouped in National Development Plan 4 (NDP4)), to promote the regional and international export of these goods. These incentives include direct subsidies to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and tax-related subsidies in the form of exemptions. To allow for a potentially larger market access for Namibian products the government signed various preferential free trade agreements with various countries, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, which has a big consumer base. Food securityOver 60 percent of Namibia’s 2.1 million inhabitants live in remote areas in the north and north-eastern parts of the country. The distance between the ocean, the harbors and major cities and towns is so great that it is not always easy to access fish products. In addition, fish in local markets are expensive because of the high prices offered by international markets. The country with its arid climate conditions and unreliable rainfall is vulnerable to drought, which has adverse effects on the livelihood of the people and on food security. The government has recognized the importance that the fisheries and aquaculture sectors play in contributing to national development and food security in the country. In 2001, the government established the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT) under the custodianship of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, to make fish more accessible to Namibians in remote areas and promote its consumption. The trust is allocated an annual horse mackerel and hake quota by the Ministry to sell to the public at affordable prices and currently has fish shops in all 13 regions of the country. The per capita consumption has drastically increased from that of 14.0 kg, per annum as a result of the efforts made by the Trust. In spite of the achievements made in as far as fish distribution to the regions and per capita consumption, a survey conducted by the Trust in 2012 indicated that only 5 percent of the fish landed in the Namibian waters is still consumed locally (www.nfcpt.com.na). The low rainfall during the 2011/2012 rain season and the prolonged dry season has resulted in severe drought that affected all 13 regions in the country and according to the UN 780 000 Namibians are currently classified as food insecure. Furthermore, the Government of Namibia has made aquaculture a top priority as defined in The Namibian Vision 2030 document. Aquaculture is expected to play a major role in the enhancement of food security, alleviation of poverty, and improvement of livelihood in rural communities. In its Master Plan for Aquaculture (2013-2023) the Ministry has highlighted ways to address the current challenges and increase the role of aquaculture.EmploymentThe marine capture fisheries with a total of 12 130 employees is the largest employer in the fisheries sector. Approximately 63 percent of the workers are employed by the hake industry, which has several onshore processing facilities in Luderitz and Walvis Bay and a large fleet of vessels. The monkfish fishery employs 230 people on board of vessels where the majority of products are processed, whilst the horse mackerel fishery has increased its employment to about 2000, with the introduction of the new right holders. Employment in the fishing industry has, however, remained relatively stagnant over the past years with a decrease observed since 2010. Employment in the aquaculture sector remains minimal.

Table 6 – Namibia - Employment in the marine capture fisheries sector

2009 13 305
2010 13 300
2011 10 797
2012 12 130
Source MFMR annual report 2011/12

These figures are also available at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources’ webpage at www.mfmr.gov.na

Rural developmentDue to its arid climatic conditions and barren coastal zone Namibia does not have many settlements along the coast. The difficult living conditions along the coast combined with the rough seas led to an entirely industrialized marine fisheries sector. Thus artisanal fisheries do not exist, whilst small scale fisheries are only based in a small angling community in the linefish fishery. Furthermore, the country has very limited natural freshwater bodies in the mainland. Therefore, the fisheries sector in Namibia cannot directly maintain population in their native places and does not assist in developing remote parts of the country except in the Caprivi and Okavango region, where captured freshwater fisheries are practiced. However, the marine industrial fishing sector supplies jobs to a substantial number of people (over 10 000), who emanate from different regions. Many of these send remittances to their places of origin (home in remote areas) where money is then used for the development of their communities. In the Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Okavango and Caprivi region, the income used for community development is in most cases earned outside the region.Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Namibia is engaged in promoting community based fish farming, primarily to promote food security and create employment and income generation for the community members. During 2010, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources distributed fingerlings to 74 small-scale fish farmers to grow and sell for their own income as well as fish feed bags at subsidized prices. A total of 41 fish farms, with a total catch of 10 tonnes and value of about 170 000 NAD were harvested during 2010. The highest catches were reported in the Kavango and Ohangwena regions. Harvest in the Caprivi region was low due to flooding of the fish farms during that year.
Trends, issues and developmentConstraints and opportunities


The major challenges facing the Namibian capture fisheries and aquaculture sectors are identified by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources being as follows:External factors such as fuel prices and the volatile exchange rates curtail the performance of the fishing industry. During 2012 the price of diesel alone has increased three times, whilst in 2011 it has increased five times. Further increases in the price of fuel are expected to have a negative impact in the sector’s performance. However, the industry has been slightly buffered by somewhat favorable exchange rates in 2012 and 2013. Environmental conditions which affect the state of the stocks on which the TAC is based and on the catches of some of the fisheries such as rock lobster. High port charges especially at the harbour of Luderitz and for the seasonal purse seine fisheries.The reluctance of the financial institutions to fund fisheries initiatives and investment. The marine capture fisheries sector, especially the hake sub-sector, is comprised of a mostly ageing and inefficient fleet and requires financing to replace. However, the financial institutions are reluctant to take the right of exploration as collateral.Conflicts with other sectors such as mining. Mining activities such as seismic exploration and diamond mining in the south are believed to have a negative impact of the catches of the highly migratory tuna and rock lobster fisheries respectively. Lack of financing and expertise hampers the development of the aquaculture sector. Access to finances at realistic rates is crucial for the entrepreneurs to venture into aquaculture operations. Both local and international financial institutions are reluctant to provide start-up capital. Lack of knowledge, high risk and lack of security are some of the reasons given by local banks. Furthermore, lack of zoned land and access to water for mariculture projects along the coast hampers the expansion of mariculture production. These constraints are addressed in the Ministry’s Master plan for Aquaculture and a way forward is proposed.Lack of an accredited national shellfish sanitation programme (although this is in the process of being achieved through the Namibia Standards Institution) and capacity in this area currently prevent exports to markets in the EU and elsewhere.The oceanographic conditions such as the recurrent hydrogen sulphide eruptions along the coast and the unprotected high energy coastline are additional limiting factors to marine aquaculture production.


Namibia’s sound management regime of the marine capture resources and its enabling regulatory environment has allowed the stocks to remain relatively stable and promoted development in the fishing industry. A great opportunity exists for market diversification and value addition of fisheries products. Potential for upgrading production facilities to incorporate new value added products, including “secondary processed” products such as breaded portions and microwave ready meals exist in the country considering the well established processing, packaging and marketing systems. Value addition could lead to higher earnings from exports of high quality products that command good prices in international markets.Namibia as a country has potential to increase its export output from fisheries and to further contribute to the national economy through proper marketing research and new marketing development strategies. There is a need for the establishment of an export promoting body that will promote Namibian fish and fish products on international markets.Eco-labeling and MCS certification are some key instruments that can be used for branding and labeling purposes for products to penetrate new markets. The creation of the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Bank is expected to provide capital to small scale aquaculture fish farmers and new entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the growing local markets as a result of the Ministry’s incentives such as the fish consumption programme as well as regional markets, provide an opportunity for growth of production in the freshwater aquaculture sector
Government and non-government sector policies and development strategiesIn order to achieve its goal of sustainable utilization of the living marine resources and the development of the aquaculture sector, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has a long-term planning/vision for Namibia. The strategic plan provides the mid-term direction for the Ministry and describes the performance expected of the Ministry. The strategic plan also provides a framework of objectives, strategies and intended tasks against which the Ministry can be held accountable. In its current Strategic Plan 2009-2014, the Ministry has set five strategic areas in which it is to excel. As per the plan the Ministry is to ensure that the stocks recover to set biomass level targets. To achieve this objective the Ministry will conduct scientific research on all target species as well as the ecosystem. Furthermore the Ministry aims to ensure a responsive regulatory framework and policies, and enforcement of the regulatory framework. The Ministry will also strive to increase the growth of the fisheries sector through market and product diversification as well as international agreements and thereby enhance socio-economic development. In line with its objectives the Ministry is also set to promote the development of aquaculture and thereby improve this sector’s contribution to food security. The Ministry is also to improve operational efficiency to improve the management of fishing rights and quotas and increase the participation of Namibians in the fishing industry. This objective will be attained through capacity building that ensures a motivated, skilled and competent workforce. Furthermore, the Ministry intends to increase the marine aquaculture production to 5 500 tonnes by 2030, through targeted intervention by government and industry to remove the key developmental constraints in this sector.In addition, the Government’s long-term development plan, ‘Vision 2030’, which is coordinated by the National Planning Commission through the National Development Plans, also has a strategy for the fisheries sector. The strategies for marine resources as stipulated in the Vision 2030 document are as follows:Setting TACs at conservative levels in order to promote the sustainable utilization of the marine capture resources and their recovery.Adopting and implementing all the policies and programmes in support of sustainability and equity.Developing strategies that create incentives for fishing companies to adopt more sustainable fishing practices.Utilizing the services of expert consultants to assist Government fisheries scientists in setting their estimates for TACs.Continuing research, involving outside researchers, into the functioning of the marine environment and marine biodiversity.Developing new ways of adding value to Namibia’s marine productsImproving awareness of market requirements for marine produces, and monitor market responses to Namibian products.Identifying cost-effective, flexible and adaptable management approaches and national disaster response strategies to the potential impact of sea-level rise and other impacts linked to climate change, which could affect the marine resources sector; andencouraging entrepreneurial drive and redirect investment so that environment friendly, economic, and livelihood options are opened for the poor. E.g. promote small scale mariculture enterprise development.Research, education and trainingResearchThe Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources has three Research Institutes, two along the coast focusing on marine capture fisheries and mariculture research, and one inland focusing on inland fisheries and freshwater aquaculture research.The research conducted at the National Marine and Information Research Center (NatMIRC), situated in Swakopmund, focuses largely on fisheries and oceanographic surveys and the collection of biological parameters of the major commercial species through port sampling programmes. Swept area surveys are conducted annually for hake, monk and deep-sea red crab whilst annual hydro-acoustic surveys are conducted for horse mackerel and sardine.Ageing programmes are also established to determine the age of the major species, which together with the data collected from the fishing industry and survey estimates is used for stock assessment purposes. Anglers beach surveys are carried out throughout the year to estimate the catches by the recreational anglers. Studies of cape fur seals entail aerial surveys conducted every three years, collection of survival and mortality statistics of new born pups, and monitoring the harvest each year to ensure that non selective methods are employed.A survey is conducted monthly along the latitude 23˚00’ south and every two months along latitude 20˚00’ south to collect environmental data, including oxygen, salinity and temperature depth profiles, and primary productivity . Secondary production, chemical and physical oceanographic parameters and the state of the environment are also determined using the data collected during these surveys. The institute obtains daily images of sea surface temperature and essential parameters such as chlorophyll through a remote sensing programme. In 2012 the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources acquired a new multidisciplinary research vessel, with state-of-the art scientific equipment and laboratories, which will enable the Ministry’s research to expand and conduct comprehensive research for Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) purposes.

Mariculture research programmes include the monitoring of the mariculture farm water quality and testing of diseases in cultured oysters and alerting farmers to stop exports should algal blooms or any disease be detected. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has recently invested considerably in analytical laboratories to enable this research to be conducted.The research conducted at the Ministry’s research center in Luderitz concentrates on obtaining biological, chemical and physical oceanographic parameters along the latitute 27˚00’ south. Fisheries projects concentrate on sampling of landings of the large pelagics, hake and rock lobster fisheries as well as diving surveys to collect biological parameters for rock lobster, which are crucial for stock assessment. The Marine Mammal section at this center monitors the survival and growth of pups as well as the harvest of seals at the Wolf and Atlas Bay seal colonies.The Mariculture section in Luderitz also monitors the water quality at the oyster and abalone farms around the area to alert the farmers to stop exports when algal blooms are detected. The section also tests the culture animals for diseases. The Ministry’s staff at the Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute (KIFI) and the IACs (at Katima Mulilo, and Rundu in the north east of Namibia, as well as at Hardap (central Namibia), Ongwediva and Onanivi in the north of Namibia), conduct regular surveys on the perennial rivers, floodplains and lakes (particularly Lake Liambezi, which is the highest producer of fish), to determine the species composition, catch rates and landings. A frame survey is conducted every five years to determine the number of fishermen, the number of boats, as well as the types and number of nets used and landing sites. In addition to these, genetic, parasitology, EUS disease surveillance and water quality studies are conducted at KIFI.
Education and trainingCapacity development is at the cornerstone of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and funds are availed annually to enable staff members to be trained through short courses and qualifying studies each year. Training in maritime and fishing technology aspects is offered at the Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI), which is funded through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Over the years the training and technical assistance from various donor countries has been received and has greatly benefited the staff members. Collaboration through programmes such as BENEFIT and the BCLME resulted in the development of research in the country and culminated in the formation of the Benguela Current Commission. In recent years training has been offered annually through the Benguela Current Commission in the fields of hydro-acoustics, stock assessment and ageing to develop the skills of the researchers in these fields. In addition, ongoing collaboration with the governments of Spain, Finland and Cuba, and the Vietnam to South Programme has provided the necessary technical assistance in the fields of oceanography, stock assessment, aquaculture and maritime affairs. Training in navigation and other maritime aspects, funded by the Finnish government, has particularly enabled the officers and crew to be able to man the newly acquired state-of- the-art research vessel RV Mirabilis. During the financial year that ended in March 2013, a total of 83 staff members received funding from the Ministry for training in short courses and 28 for qualifying studies, whilst another 30 attended various courses sponsored through foreign governments.
Foreign aidNamibia has been receiving very little donor assistance, particularly since the country’s classification to an upper middle-income category in 2011. However, in 2012 the Ministry acquired a new multidisciplinary research vessel through a concessionary loan by the Finnish Government. Furthermore, a project funded by the Finnish Government was initiated in 2012, focusing on training in the disciplines of oceanography, stock assessment and navigation. The Ministry is also continuing collaboration with Cuba and the Vietnam to South as well as under FAO-funded projects to enhance capacity in the field of freshwater aquaculture techniques. A project funded by the Spanish government on several aspects of research and data analysis of marine fisheries resources is also currently ongoing.
Institutional frameworkThe Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources was established in 1991 to sustainably manage Namibia’s fisheries resources and develop a viable aquaculture sector. The Ministry’s head office is located in Windhoek, the country’s capital city. It consists of a Minister, Deputy Minister, Permanent Secretary and four key Directorates, each with a specific mandate.The Directorate of Resource Management is responsible for conducting research and advising on the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources and the state of the marine environment and has two research institutes, the main center in Swakopmund and a smaller one in Luderitz.Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) activities are conducted by the Directorate of Operations, which has a main centre in Walvis Bay and smaller centers in Luderitz as well as in the regions where inland fisheries and aquaculture activities are taking place.The Directorate of Aquaculture has a mandate to develop and manage aquaculture, through research and the provision of extension services as well as to manage the country’s inland fisheries. The Directorate has one research center located at Kamutjonga in the northeastern part of the country.The coordination and planning of the Ministry’s activities are made by the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Economics, which is also responsible for undertaking economic research, formulating policies and advising the Minister on socio-economic aspects pertaining to the Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors.
Legal frameworkThe White Paper Policy of 1991 titled “Towards Responsible Development of the Fisheries Sector” encompasses the major fisheries policies. These policies were translated into regulations in the Sea Fisheries Act of 1992. Mechanisms for long-term rights and fish quota allocation were established in the Policy Statement on the Granting of Rights of Exploitation to Utilize Marine Resources and the Allocation of Fishing Quotas of 1993. The critical issues considered were:
  • the recovery of the depleted commercial stocks through conservation and protection of the country’s EEZ, which was proclaimed in 1990 (Act 3 of 1990);
  • the establishment of a monitoring, control and surveillance system to protect the EEZ and ensure compliance with the new regulations;
  • creation of a viable economic environment, through onshore processing to enable industrial development;
  • to increase the role of Namibians in the sector through a streamlined Namibianization policy; and
  • to promote regional cooperation through the activities of SADC.
In 2001 the Sea Fisheries Act was repealed by the Marine Resources Act (ACT 27 of 2000) in line with developments in the sector and key elements of the international agreements that Namibia became a party to. The new act incorporates international best practice for fisheries management and key elements of the international agreements entered into by Namibia. The Act is based on the strategy to provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem and responsible utilization, conservation, protection and promotion of marine resources on a sustainable basis; for that purpose to provide for exercise of control over marine resources.To put in effect the legislation, regulations that set the terms and conditions for all vessels operating within the Namibian EEZ, as well as for the activities of Namibian flagged vessels operating outside the national EEZ, were promulgated under the Act. Furthermore, under the Marine Resources Act (2000), a Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) has been established, which provides advice to the Minister on Fisheries policy, annual allocation of TAC, management measures and development issues.

Other important legal documents are:Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone of Namibia Act (Act 3 of 1990),Policy Statement on Granting of Rights of Exploitation to Utilize Marine Resources and on the Allocation of Fishing Quotas (1993);Inland Fisheries Policy (1995);Aquaculture policy of 2001;Marine Resources Regulations (2001);Aquaculture Act (No.1 of 2002);Inland Fisheries Resources Act (No.1 of 2003), which governs inland fisheries.Inland Fisheries Regulations (2003);Namibia’s Marine Resources Policy (2004);Vessel Monitoring Regulations (2005);Aquaculture Master Plan (2013-2023).


Figure 13 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Hake Fishery since 1990.
Figure 13 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Hake Fishery since 1990.

Figure 14 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Horse mackerel Fishery since 1990.
Figure 14 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Horse mackerel Fishery since 1990.

Figure 15 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Monk Fishery since 2000.
Figure 15 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Monk Fishery since 2000.

Figure 16 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the sardine Fishery since 1990.
Figure 16 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the sardine Fishery since 1990.

Figure 17 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the deep sea red crab Fishery since 1990.
Figure 17 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the deep sea red crab Fishery since 1990.

Figure 18 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Rock lobster Fishery since 1990.
Figure 18 – Namibia - Biomass estimates, Catch and TAC for the Rock lobster Fishery since 1990.

Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia (23 April 2003). Promulgation of Inland Fisheries Resources Act, 2003 (Act No.1 of 2003). No. 91.
Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia (14 June 2005). Vessel Monitoring Regulations of the Marine Resources Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000). No. 65.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Annual Report 2010/2011, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2013) Master Plan for Marine Aquaculture in Namibia 2013 – 2023, Part 1, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2013) National Aquaculture Master Plan for Namibia 2013 – 2023, Part 2: Freshwater Aquaculture, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2008) Strategic Plan 2009 - 2014, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2012). Report for the Marine Resources Advisory Council. Management Recommendations for horse mackerel, rock lobster and deep-sea red crab. Directorate of Resource Management, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2012). Report for the Marine Resources Advisory Council. Management Recommendations for hake and monk. Directorate of Resource Management, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2012). Report for the Marine Resources Advisory Council. Pilchard Management Recommendations. Directorate of Resource Management, Windhoek.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (2012). Report for the Marine Resources Advisory Council. Management Recommendations for Seals. Directorate of Resource Management, Windhoek.
Republic of Namibia (2012). Namibia’s Fourth National Development Plan 2012/13 to 2016/17, National Planning Commission, Windhoek.

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