Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fish sausages from Africa

Lovin Kobusingya, an entrepreneur and founder of Kati farm supplies in Uganda is no longer fishing for ideas. When Kobusingya started toying with the idea of producing fish sausages, most people around her did not think the concept would get off the ground.
“I have been selling fish on the side to earn extra money and kept thinking about sustainability and how we could push higher volumes of fish to the market by diversifying our offerings, at the right price,” she recalls.
Armed with very limited knowledge gleaned from Google searches, Kobusingya sought technical assistance from the Uganda Industry Research Institute to help develop a formula for the fish sausages. With $800 she produced her stock run, which was sold to friends and small vendors before she had gained the confidence to approach hotels and supermarkets in and around Uganda.
“While we faced a number of start–up challenges, I am fortunate that funding was not one of them,” she commented.
Lovin’s husband kick–started her business with USh 10 million in capital and she does not look back – two years later, she has more than doubled her initial investment with an annual turnover now hovering around USh 50 million. Kobusingya has also managed to increase production from 100 kg of fish sausages a day to the current distribution figures of eight tons per week. She works with 500 fish farmers in her country and the majority of them are women.
Future plans for Lovin is to buy land and equipment to upscale operations into neighbouring African countries. 
This article was written by Marianna du Plessis, Manager: Stakeholder Relations, Africa and International. Contact her at +27 82 337 6127 or send an email to

Anthrax Alert In The Caprivi Region: July 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fish Genetic Survey: Kunene river: 22 - 27 July 2013

Kunene river

Photos of the survey are available at:

Another  leg of the Genetic Survey of fish in the Kunene river took place from 22 to 27 July 2013. Mr. Burger (Deputy Director: Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture) along with Mr. SW Teodor and Mr. Erasmus Haimene both Fisheries Biologist from Onavivi and Ongwediva respectively participated in the survey. Professor Herman Van der Bank from the University of Johannesburg was the collaborating PI and assisted with the identification of captured fish and sampling of specimens for genetic (DNA) bar-coding.  

The survey took place in the surrounding areas of the Kunene River Lodge. A total of 35 samples from different species were collected during this leg of the project. Samples were only taken from outstanding fish species not comprehensively identified under the International Barcode of Life Data Project (IBOLD). Fish were caught using nets and hook and line. The full survey report will be published soon on the Survey/Research page of this site. 

Putting out nets in the ideal habitat of some of the required species

The Genetic Survey had its origin with the Project: Inventory of Namibian Aquatic Biodiversity: Ecological, Morphological and Genetic Analysis. The project started in 2011 for a period of 5 years. 

Field Trip report
Click on image for better view...

Some of the fish sampled...

Training: Kavango Regional Disaster Risk Management Committee + Regional Disaster Risk Management Technical Committee members: 17-19 July 2013

Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute: Venue of the training workshop

The Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries boardroom was the ideal venue for the training. 

Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute played host for this Disaster Risk Management training exercise under the auspices of the Namibian red Cross Society from 17 to 19 July 2013. The training was attended by 26 participants which included members from the Namibian Police, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kavango Regional Council, Councillors, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Lands, Rural Water Supply (MAWF), DAPP, Namibia Defense Force and Ministry of Health and Social Services. 

Participants listening attentively to a presentation

The Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) under its Disaster Risk management Programme is implementing a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) project through the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department's Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). The project is funded  by thy European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) through the Spanish Red Cross (SRC) and is being implemented in the Kavango Region with specific areas of Mayana, Mbambi and Tjova

The principle objective of the project is to reduce the vulnerability and increase the copping capacities by better preparing vulnerable populations and public authorities in Disaster prone areas of Namibia. The project would be implemented for 18 months and started in July 2012 untill December 2013. One of the key components of the project is to strengthen Disaster Management  government institutions which includes Regional Disaster Risk Management Committees (RDRMCs) and the Regional Disaster Risk Management Technical Committees in the targeted region.  RDRMCs will be mainly trained on early warning systems disaster risk management concepts and disaster response linked to existing regional contingency plans and national level guiding procedures.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Namib Sand Sea declared World Heritage Site June 21st, 2013

Sossusvlei: Part of the Namib Sand Sea with its over 300m high dunes

It’s official. Bated breath turned to utter relief in the early morning hours of Friday, 21 June, when it was announced that the Namib Sand Sea has been declared as a natural World Heritage Site. This is the second UNESCO World Heritage site for Namibia.
Namibia’s delegation to the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, cheered at the announcement and eagerly began spreading the happy news this morning. 
The Namib Sand Sea (as the Southern Namib Erg) was identified as a potential World Heritage site in 2002. Preparation for the nomination of the Namib Sand Sea started in 2009. The dossier listing the criteria needed for World Heritage inscription was compiled during 2011 under the leadership of Dr Mary Seely of the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. The dossier was presented to the World Heritage committee in 2012. 
The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage makes provision for sites to be inscribed as cultural, natural or mixed (having both natural and cultural values). 
Namibia’s first world heritage site, Twyfelfontein, was inscribed in 2007 as a cultural site.The Namib Sand Sea is Namibia’s first natural World Heritage site. 

The Namib Sand Sea area, now an official World Heritage site, comprises a large part of the Namib Naukluft Park. It includes favourite tourist destinations such as Sossusvlei and Sandwich Harbour. 

The inscribed area stretches from the Kuiseb River southwards to include approximately 66% of the Central Namib dune sea. The inscribed Sand Sea covers an area of 30,777 square kilometres with an additional 899,500 hectares designated as a buffer zone. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

South South Cooperation Program: 6 Month Progress Report Meeting: KIFI: 9 July 2013

KIFI staff and Vietnamese Technical Assistants discussing activities implemented under the SSC Program during the last quarter
Dr. Dihn van Trung, Vietnamese aquaculture expert under the South South Cooperation (SSC) Program accompanied by Ms. Unda Ttihuiko from the MFMR, Directorate Aquaculture in Windhoek visited KIFI on Tuesday, 11 July 2013. The aim of their visit was to have a meeting with KIFI staff to revise the progress, constraints and solutions with regard to the implementation of SSC activities during the past 6 months and to prepare a 6 month progress report. This report will be discussed with FAO and Spanish representatives at the end of July 2013. 

They will  visit Ongwediva Inland Aquaculture Center on 11 July and Onavivi Inland Aquaculture Center on 12 July 2013.
Mr. Mataya, Fisheries Research Technician from KIFI busy with his presentation

Mr. R. Burger, Deputy Director at KIFI opened the meeting with a prayer after which he welcomed the delegation to KIFI. Mr. Mataya was then handed the floor to present the implementation progress of SSC activities  at KIFI  for the past 6 months. After the presentation the floor was open for discussion. 

Way forward: Finalization and submission of the progress report on 17 July 2013 for feedback. Final report to be submitted on 19 July 2013

Okavango Basin Management Committee Meeting: 25-27 June Sarasungu Lodge, Rundu

Report by Celestino Ferreira: Fisheries Research Technician
Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute

Mr. Reinhold Kambuli (OkBMC Support Officer) presenting on the Recap on the National Action Plan (NAP) and Operational plan for July 2012 – March 2013

The main objectives of the Forum Meeting was to update the committee on Progress  made on the activities for the operational plan for FY 2012/2013, Planned activities for the next financial year 2013/2014, Update on projects such as SAREP, The future Okavango and NGOs and Brainstorm and come up with Namibian national OKACOM Vision. The meeting was represented by all stakeholders with the exception of the Rundu Town Council and the Kavango Regional Council. Stakeholders were divided into 5 different Thematic areas namely:
·         Theme 1: Basin development and management framework
·         Theme 2: Livelihoods and socio-economic development
·         Theme 3: Water resources management
·         Theme 4: Land management
·         Theme 5: Environment and biodiversity

Different stakeholders presented their progress and shifted activities that were not completed to the 2013/2014 financial year. Activities are planned as per the National Action Plan (NAP) objectives. A draft for the planned activities for 2013/2014 was made and will be circulated to the stakeholders for finalization.

 Highlights from Celestino Ferrera's presentation below

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lake Liambezi monitoring report (Shamahuka Fish Landings), Muyako area, Caprivi Region

Edited by : Evans Simasiku
July 2013


The Lake Liambezi fishery developed from scratch in 2008. Fishing started on the lake with subsistence catches in 2009 dominated by Clarias gariepinus, with few of the tilapiines. In 2010, the rapid increase in large cichlid species inspired many fishermen to enter the fishery. This practice developed in a small-scale fishery at Shamahuka landing site (Figure 1). Shamahuka is the major landing site along Lake Liambezi from where catches are mainly transported to the fish market in Katima Mulilo urban. As the tilapiine cichlids multiplied and grew rapidly, they began to appear in the fishermen’s gillnet catches, leading to an influx of fishermen from outside the area, such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). O. andersonii and T.rendalli comprised approximately 90% of the fishermen’s gillnet catch on the lake (Tweddle et al. 2011).  
The fishermen fishing Lake Liambezi are mostly of the Subia tribe origin and come to the lake specifically to fish. In 2010, a register of all participants in the fishery was compiled and restricted to residents of Muyako fishing village in which Liambezi is situated (Tweddle et al. 2011). The registration system was not exclusive, as the owner of the registered and licensed gear would be local and employed foreigners with good fishing skills from Zambia. During the same period, 125 fishermen, 91 canoes, and an average of two fishermen per canoe were registered in November 2010 (Tweddle et al. 2011). The most important fishing villages’ around the lake are Kalengwe, Muyako, and Mahundu in the east, Zilitene/Kwena to the north and Masokotwani and Lusu to the west. Temporary fish camps are located on small islands in the western and southern part of the lake.
The types of gear used on the newly inundated lake are the monofilament and multifilament gillnets, with limited use of the prohibited dragnets and mosquito nets (Simasiku, 2011. pers. obs.). Gillnets are readily available on the open market in Katima Mulilo (Simasiku, 2009. pers.obs.) and from dealers in Zambia at low cost. The low cost of nets and the relative ease with which fish are caught in the lake, makes commercial fishing an attractive option for potential entrepreneurs. Nets are obtained un-mounted and mounted by the fishermen prior to fishing activities. In gillnet construction both the top and bottom ropes made of hessian material. The bottom rope is twisted into the meshes and bricks attached at irregular intervals to serve as weights. The highly buoyant pieces of white fume box are tied to the top rope at an interval of 1 m to serve as floats. Gillnets are hung 2.5 m deep and mounted at 50 percent of the stretched length. Nets are usually set out in series over two weeks and inspected for fish each morning. Dugout canoes (mukolo) remain the mode of transport in access to fishing various grounds and deployment of fishing gear on the Lake (Simasiku, 2009.pers.obs.).  Of all the wood species used in construction of canoes, only kiaat and possibly sausage trees are the best (van der Waal, 1990).
Since 2009, fish trade was resumed as an influx of Namibians, Angolans, Zambians, and Congolese settled at Shamahuka landing site for weeks or months while topped up their target consignments of fish for sale (Simasiku, pers. obs.). Fish were caught mainly by the Namibian fishermen and sold to both local and foreign fish traders. While at the lake, most of the foreign fish traders split and dried their fish or preserve them in salt before shipping them to Livingstone and Lusaka in Zambia, or further, in to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Tweddle et al, 2011). Alternatively, fish would be transported by taxi to local markets at Bukalo and Katima Mulilo urban.
Previous reports on the Lake Liambezi Fishery and its production prior to it drying up in the 80’s were presented by van der Waal, (1980). A total mass production of 637 tons per year was computed in 1974, dropping down to 115 tons in 1976. This decline in catches was concurrent with a rise in lake levels. Apart from the continued search for appropriate fisheries management models, some authors have outlined some challenges of managing fluctuating ecosystems, which are mainly caused by climatic influence. Winpenny, (1991) stated that fisheries are highly prone to natural variability in their environment, which can be both complex and unpredictable, and may interact with human inter-versions to produce serious consequences on the fishery.  Accurate assessments of the resource situation are observed by the rapid response of many freshwater fish stocks to fluctuating environmental conditions. The aim of this study was to
account for landing statistic data at Shamahuka landing site in order to: 
  1. Asses the harvesting patterns of the local fishermen on the lake.
  2. Determine the annual exploitation level of the commercial species since fishing resumed in 2009.
  3. Correlate climatic factors such as water level, temperature, and lunar phase with the fish catches on the lake.
  4. Evaluate the contributory value of Lake Liambezi into the Katima Mulilo Fish Market.  
Figure 1. Increase in fishing activities (a & b) at Shamahuka landing site between February – November 2010, Zambian truck loaded with fish stuck in mud at Muyako village (c) and theNamibian bakkie loaded with fresh fish for export to Zambia (d) (adapted from Tweedle, 2011 and Shapi 2012).
Shamahuka landings and Market data
Monthly catch landing surveys were conducted twice a week at Shamahuka landing site between May 2011 and April 2012. Individual fishermen landing their catch were approached and questioned regarding their net types, stretched mesh sizes, net length and frequencies of fishing activities. It was difficult to record the catches directly from the fishermen as they were in a hurry to get their catches to the fish market, making recording impossible. However the daily catch of their fish per net was collectively placed in a large plastic cooler and weighed using a hanging scale under a pole tripod with a large platform below (Figure 2). The weighting station was strategically placed on the shore point where most fishermen landed their catch. Personal observations and secondary sources were employed during data collection. In addition to the catch data being recorded at Shamahuka landing site, staff from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in conjunction with the Namibian Nature Foundation (NNF) recorded the origin and weight of fresh fish entering the Katima Mulilo Fish Market. All fish from various fishing areas were brought into the market using three different sized cooler boxes; large, medium and small and weighed using the hanging scale as described above.

Most fishermen on Lake Liambezi have showed a high preference for monofilament gillnets than multifilament due to high catch efficiency associated with the monofilament net type. The most frequently mesh size in use per net type was the 3.5 and 4” (inches). This practice is sustainable, however the use of 3” to catch fish in the lake by certain individuals may destruct and prevent juvenile recruitment. In addition, the study signify the importance of stock assessment, yield calculation, and catch trends over time as a basis to gain information on the response of the fish stocks relatively with change in climatic factor such as water level, temperature, and lunar phase. Above all, temperature and lunar phase were the two determinant factors on the catch rates from the lake.  This implies that, in addition to fishing effort the fishery of Lake Liambezi is highly influenced by temperature and lunar phase. Sarch and Allison (2000) noted that the apparently greater importance of climate as confirmed by this study relative to fishing, in driving the dynamics of fish stocks in many Africa’s inland waters suggests that effort should be redirected at protecting wetland functions and broader ecosystem integrity. This calls for other alternative sources of income generation to be identified and promoted. The total mass production of 2544 tonnes removed from the entire lake per year, may underestimate the actual value of the lake but indicates that Lake Liambezi is a highly productive water body. The high supply of fish from Lake Liambezi to the Katima Mulilo Fish Market implies that the lake has an important bearing on the nutritional requirement of the Caprivi’s population. However the variability of such ecosystem and the responsiveness of catches by gear type and species both in space and time can provide a basis for management. 

Full report (including Climate data, data analyses, results etc) is available on request...

Epalela Fish Farm Harvest and student visit to OIAC: 01 July 2013

3.6 tonne Tilapia harvested at Epalela Fish farm on the  1st of  June 2013

Epalela Fish Farm is one of the biggest government fish farms situated in the northwest of Namibia, in Omusati region. The farm has 12 production ponds of which one pond is harvested monthly.  The figure above shows the harvest of one of the ponds, done 1st July 2013.  A total of 3.6 tones was harvested. 

On the 4th of July 2013, 48 grade 12 learners studying  Agriculture, and 4 teachers from  Haudano Secondary school in Okalongo, Omusati Region, visited Onavivi Inland Aquaculture Center recently to familiarize themselves with fish farming in Namibia. They were accompanied by their teacher Mrs. Laimi Haungeda. All learners were excited to see aquaculture activities at  the Center.

happy students...