Africa > Southern Africa > Namibia > Delay of R100 million drought relief to Namibia

Namibia: Delay of R100 million drought relief to Namibia

2016/01/18

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has vowed not to lift the fishing ban, despite a significant number of fish dying in shallow waters in Lake Liambezi, that is on the verge of drying up, as it did not receive significant inflows as a result of recurrent droughts.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has hinted that it could harvest the fish from Liambezi and from some fish ponds for distribution to drought affected residents. Because of the ban on freshwater fishing that was imposed - ironically to allow depleted fishing stocks to recover - the locals cannot collect the stranded fish that floundering in the shallow waters of Lake Liambezi.

The ban has been in force since December and is expected to be lifted only next month. However, due to the lack of water in the lake the fish have been dying in vast numbers and going to waste, as the locals are not allowed to collect fish - not even in areas where the fish died.

The locals, who rely on fish as a crucial part of their diet, have argued that they are being treated unfairly as the fish is left to waste and that in all fairness they should be allowed to collect and utilise the fish and not let it go to waste.

Chief biologist in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Katima Mulilo Christopher Munwela confirmed the fish ban will not be lifted, but instead some temporary measures may be put in place to arrest the situation."I was assigned by our Deputy Minister to go and reassess the situation on he ground and draft a statement with recommendations on the way forward, but we will come up with temporary measures considering the drought as well," Munwela said.

He gave assurances that his statement would be ready by today (Friday), following which the public will be informed accordingly on what is to be done. At the same time Munwela called on the public to remain calm, as the situation will be resolved any minute at this time.

"It is an issue which will be dealt with urgently and I'm optimistic that these assessments will yield positive results which will be beneficial to the public," Munwela concluded.

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