Thursday, October 10, 2013





10 September 2013
Cheshire Homes, Katima Mulilo


Report compiled by:

Bargrey Kapelwa
Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources
Damian Nchindo
Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources
Dudu Sibanda
Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources
Carol Murphy
NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project
Denis Tweddle
NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project
Clinton Hay
NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project

Government and supporting NGO collaboration with community stakeholders is essential to manage and regulate common pool natural resources, such as fish in floodplain and river systems. To develop improved communication between fisheries stakeholders, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), in partnership with the NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project, invited over 50 people from the Traditional Authorities (TA) and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) including Conservancies, in the Zambezi Region, Namibia, to attend an information sharing workshop. Logistics were organised by both the MFMR staff and staff of the NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project. The workshop was well attended and engaged in a general discussion on the status and management of the fisheries in the Upper Zambezi, Chobe, Kwando and Lake Liambezi fisheries.

The workshop was opened by the Acting Honourable Governor Ignatius Chunga. Discussions in the workshop began with presentations during the morning session by staff of the MFMR (Damian Nchindo and Bagrey Kapelwa) and the project executants of the NNF/EU Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project (Denis Tweddle, Clinton Hay).

MFMR’s staff members explained their role in the control and regulation of the fisheries. They described the challenges they are facing with lack of co-operation from communities. Sometimes this has led to harassment of Fisheries Inspectors. Mr Tweddle’s NNF/EU Fisheries Project presentation explained why there is increasing pressure on the fish resources, and demonstrated a rapid decline in fish catch rates that threatens food security in the Region.

Discussions in the afternoon were lively and very constructive. Because of the broad-ranging and extremely valuable debate, initial plans to split the workshop into groups to focus on specific issues and necessary interventions were abandoned. Instead, in the opinion of both the project and the MFMR, a second workshop is essential. This first workshop presented the stakeholders with an overview of the problems and the issues that need to be addressed in the opinion of the project and MFMR. It also produced a very thorough picture of the views of the community leaders and fisheries stakeholders. In a second workshop, after the participants from the first workshop have consulted their communities, the stakeholders can begin discussing in depth the initiatives they will take and the support they will need from the MFMR and project.

Some of the main points of the presentations are as follows:
Fish stocks are in rapid decline as there is huge demand for fish from an increasing population and commercialisation;
Destructive fishing methods* (many of which are illegal) are contributing to the rapid decline;
The MFMR are empowered by Namibian law to act to protect fish stocks; but MFMR cannot be successful if they have to work alone, and they need the co-operation of the Traditional Authorities and the communities.

Themes of the question and answer session included issues of regulation and co-operation (e.g. licences, mesh size, foreign fishers, closed season); the role of the TA in regulation; fish management in Conservancies (e.g. Fish Protection Areas) and improvements to the fish industry (e.g. better markets for fish, fish farming/ranching, capacity building of fish communities).

The full report is available on request

* This includes the use of monofilament gillnets, which have rapidly taken over from multifilament nets and are now causing serious damage, not only to fish stocks but also to other wildlife.

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