Minister Senzeni Zokwana, on behalf of the South African government, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with his Namibian counterpart, Minister Bernard Essau. The MoU constitutes an agreement between the two neighbouring countries to work together in various matters within the fisheries space.
South Africa, Namibia and Angola share the waters of the highly productive Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). The BCLME ecosystem programme implemented in the region between 2002 and 2008 drew the three countries together to integrate management of the ecosystem. This collaboration was later formalised through the Benguela Current Commission and is now ratified into the Benguela Current Convention.
The trans-boundary of fish species between the South African and Namibian marine borders means co-management of the system is important.
The ratified MoU represents collaboration and cooperation between South Africa and Namibia. Amongst other areas of cooperation agreed to, are the following:
- Research and Development
A specialised joint working group for evaluation, management and socio-economic study of shared marine resources will be established. Appropriate arrangements for the management of shared marine and fresh water living resources, including the determination of the total allowable catch (TAC), technical conservation measures and other related measures will be set up.
- Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries
Both countries will carry out joint research into cultivation of marine living resources indigenous to the Benguela Current Ecosystem and indigenous inland freshwater resources, using acquired technology as far as possible.
- Monitoring, control and surveillance
Joint actions will be pursued to safeguard the marine resource and reduce and eliminate the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This will include joint surface and aerial marine fisheries surveillance patrols; sharing of assets used for the purpose of sea patrols; joint observer programmes to ensure compliance of those authorised to fish.
- Capacity-building and development
The Benguela Ecosystem presents a myriad of opportunities which require skills and experience. An extensive joint training operation on shared monitoring platforms, with special focus on youth and women will be undertaken.
- Cooperation on economic development of fisheries and blue economy
Both countries will cooperate on capacity building on compliance systems on sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS), including food safety systems, in fisheries and aquaculture. Both countries will work together on policies, regulatory frameworks and implementation of blue economy activities of mutual interest.
“It is with greatest pleasure that I sign this MoU on behalf of South Africa here in Namibia. Our president has made a call for us “to grow South Africa”. Growing SA is intertwined with our commitments to grow the region and the continent. This framework captures the commitment of our country,” said Minister Zokwana. – Press release