A new model needed for forced fishing marriages

The current model in which government compels fishing companies to join hands and form Joint Venture companies that are then allocated fishing quotas is not only unrealistic but fosters a situation where we will not realise the investment fruits of our fishing resources.

In this fishing season, it has been delightful to note that 15 JVs of five fishing companies -each in the horse mackerel sector- have been awarded 3000mt each, however the clear indication on the award letter that each of the five companies is entitled to 600mt has defeated the spirit of collective effort causing rampant infighting particularly among new rightholders.

While the idea to group fishing companies so that they receive a bigger collective quota that can allow them to invest is noble, it is becoming clear that this would only be beneficial if the quota is holistically given to the joint venture without apportioning it to individual companies in the joint venture.

This perhaps can be resolved by creating a new system where the rights are given to the JV which concurrently would receive a quota.

This week, Confidente has reported a typical case in which 3000mt worth over N$10 million and awarded to TOMP-Global Fishing (Pty) Ltd, has seen its partners fail to agree after some of the companies in the joint venture opted to sell their allocations for personal gain instead of landing the fish in an available factory that would guarantee at least 200 jobs in Usakos.

This, Confidente established, has been against the Joint Venture Agreement.

Apart from this JV, a fishing industry expert confirmed to this publication that this problem of greedy joint venture partners who want to profit from a quick sale of quota has been prevalent and this means job creation, value addition and shared growth which was central in the application for the rights process has literally flown out the window.

With this in mind, it is critical that government, through the fisheries ministry does more to create smart partnerships that create the right working framework and produce the intended results. It is regressive to have joint ventures that are only keen on reaping massive profits without any foresight of how their actions can adversely affect the development of the fishing industry as a whole.

Without doubt, Namibia’s resources inclusive of its fish, must be able to benefit the locals, however the manner in which this process is effected and managed needs greater scrutiny and progressive handling. If this is not done with urgency, Namibia will continue to experience a Fishrot like structure where quick profiteering is at the heart of the industry.

At a time when the proponents of our development have pointed to beneficiation, value addition and growth at home, we must come to realise this current model will not help us achieve this and therefore urgent redress is required from responsible authorities.