Renamed Starfish II vessel worth N$190m

Director of Carapau Fishing, Hermanus Kasper said the recently renamed Starfish II is currently worth N$190.8 million (US$12 million). Starfish II was renamed to Carapau I, to make the fishing vessel more relateable to the local scene.

Speaking to The Villager this week, Kasper said the vessel was on foreign registry St Vincent and Grenadines. “Now it has become a Namibian registered vessel ex-Walvis bay. These are all Namibian companies,” Kasper said.

Carapau I is a venture between Namsov, Atlantic Sea Products, Diaz Fishing, and SPOTO Fishing and it is a factory ship of 110 meters. The board of directors of Carapau Fishing (Pty) flagged the vessel and renamed its fishing vessel Starfish II last week at Walvisbay and it was officiated by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau.

The agreement was entered into by the parties to form a new horse mackerel venture and the shareholding is divided equally hence the indigenous Namibian right holders own and control 75% of the company. In terms of Horse mackerel, in October 2014, one of the major players in Namibia’s horse mackerel fishing sector, Namsov Fishing Enterprises, filed a court case with the minister of fisheries and marine resources with the intention to get a bigger fishing quota than the one awarded to it.

The company received a total quota of 38 636 metric tonnes out of Namibia’s total allowable catch of 350 000 tonnes for horse mackerel during the 2014 fishing season. Namsov wanted the fisheries minister to be ordered to raise the quota awarded by about 7 400 tonnes. In another case, there was an uproar over a 12 000 metric tonne horse mackerel quota awarded to Etale Fishing in 2013, despite allegations to the effect that the company did not have rights or facilities to catch and process horse mackerel.

Two companies involved in horse mackerel fishing, Emeritus Fishing Limited and Atlantic Harvesters of Namibia Limited have also took to the High Court in the hope of having their original quotas restored after the ministry suddenly cut their quotas and gave them to new companies.

However, at the time ministry argued that it has a focus on a policy of broad-based participation in the industry with significant alterations to its management system, and has introduced a rights-based system from a quota based system. The management of commercial fisheries is based on a system by which rights are granted, with total allowable catches being based and set on research results and quotas are issued to rights holders.

In addition last year, Esau said in Parliament that the ministry will no longer tolerate the selling of fishing rights, especially to foreign owned companies. Esau said that in his capacity as fisheries minister, he will not allow for Namibians who were awarded fishing rights to sell them to foreign companies as a get rich fast scheme.

“All current fishing right holders need to get ministerial approval in order to be able to sell their rights and as long as I am minister no approvals of such a nature will be granted. We are currently doing an evaluation in current right holders to determine if they reinvested into the country, if not, their rights will not be renewed,” he said.

He also said that the ministry loses billions and the opportunities to create job opportunities to foreign right holders who exploit the country’s natural resources. Esau further said that the ministry is reviewing policies which will make sure that all right holders reinvest into the country by value addition initiatives or face losing their rights adding that some fishing right holders feel entitled to them.

“No one is entitled to fishing rights, quotas are not allocated based asset based but on reinvestments into the country,” Esau also said that the ministry has been advocating for value addition to all products in the fishing sector adding that all fishing products should be processed in the country to alleviate poverty by means of job creation.

While debating amendments to the Marine Resources Act of 2000 which will allow Government to take over a bigger role in the exploitation of marine resources unlike in the past when private companies were at the forefront. business@thevillager.