Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA and Namibia have signed an agreement to increase co-operation in tackling  illegal fishing.

SA has lost billions of rand to illegal fishing activities and poaching.

“This [agreement] will include joint surface and aerial marine fisheries surveillance patrols; share assets used for the purpose of sea patrols and a joint observer programme to ensure compliance to those authorised to fish. 

“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,” the department said.

Thousands of people in SA depend on fisheries resources for food and as a source of income to meet basic needs.

The department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries says the importance of maintaining or even increasing the yields from these fisheries by sustainable harvesting and the recovery of depleted stocks is therefore of paramount importance.

“SA and Namibia share a border and therefore there is transboundary of fishing species in both countries, co-management between the two countries has always been important,” the department said in a statement on Thursday.

The two countries agreed to establish a   specialised  joint working group for the evaluation and  management of shared marine resources. This will include the determination of the total allowable catch and  technical conservation measures.

“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,” the department said.

Furthermore, joint actions will also be pursued to safeguard oceans so as to reduce and eliminate the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

SA and Namibia will co-operate on capacity building, compliance systems, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, including food safety systems, in fisheries and aquaculture. They will also work together on policies, regulatory frameworks and implementation of blue economy activities of mutual interest, the department said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za