Fishing activities

Department of Fisheries, Sea Shepherd targets illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities


Compliance officers from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Sea Shepherd, through Sea Shepherd’s vessel, Ocean Warrior, have successfully jointly carried out surveillance activities in Namibia’s Exclusive Economic Zone ( EEl) from April 26 to June 15.

The main objective of the joint patrols was to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Namibian waters and the joint operation was named Operation Vanguard.

The initiative helped the Ministry of Fisheries and other local law enforcement agencies force illegal and foreign industrial trawlers to leave the Namibian EEL suspected of having targeted horse mackerel stocks with IUU activities.

The ministry said in a statement, large foreign industrial industrial trawlers – trawlers made by the former Soviet Union, crossed borders, sneaking into Namibian Eel at night, looting fish, mostly horse mackerel, in the off Namibia’s famous Skeleton Coast.

“These illegal incursions were exacerbated by heavy fog and shipwrecks in the area, making detection difficult. The illegal catches were then transhipped to large refrigerated cargo ships, also known as reefers, waiting to load the illegally caught fish just outside the Namibian EEL. Refrigerated cargo ships are a major contributor to IUU fishing, as legal catches can be mixed with illegal catches, making it impossible to verify the origin of the catches, ”the ministry said.

“This is why Namibia’s marine resources law prohibits transshipment at sea and only allows it in port or in the presence of law enforcement officials,” they added.

According to the ministry, the April 26 joint operation intercepted an illegal fishing vessel moving at trawl speed 20 nautical miles south of the Angola-Namibia border, but unfortunately failed to apprehend them. suspects.

“While the government has taken conservation measures to protect horse mackerel fishing, which is essential to Namibia’s economy and ecosystem health, these conservation measures must also include patrols at sea. With the conclusion Operation Vanguard, criminal operators plundering Namibian waters off the Skeleton Coast received the message that the Namibian government is vigilant in defending its fisheries, ”said the Honorable Bernhard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and of Marine Resources during a briefing from the Director of Operations. .

“Sea Shepherd’s cooperation with the department is supported by the Southern African Development Community, Stop Illegal Fishing and the FISH-I Africa working group who share a common goal of increasing capacity at sea in Southern Africa. Limited monitoring of industrial fishing is one of the main causes of IUU fishing, ”said Per Erik Bergh, coordinator of Stop Illegal Fishing.

Since 2016, Sea Shepherd has worked in partnership with the governments of Gabon, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin and Tanzania to combat IUU fishing by providing the use of civilian offshore patrol vessels to African coastal states so that the authorities can apply the fishing regulations. and conservation laws in their sovereign waters.

To date, the unique partnerships have resulted in the arrest of 30 vessels involved in illegal fishing and other fishing-related crimes.