After assessing the plight of small-scale and artisanal fishers that are affected by climate change in the fishing sector, the Namibia’s Environmental Fund (EIF) will hand in a proposal to the Global Climate Fund (GCF).
In its newsletter that covered its work in the first quarter of this year, the EIF announced it will submit a proposal by October 2023to the GCF for building resilience and reducing the vulnerability to climate variability and change of the marine fisheries and mariculture sectors in Namibia.
As part of its next programming pipeline to the GCF, the EIF said the proposal us geared at strengthening adaptive capacity and implementing participatory and integrated strategies to ensure food and livelihood security.
“In fulfilment of the above the EIF team comprising of Karl Mutani Aribeb, Chief Operations Officer, Bernadette Shalumbu-Shivute, Manager of Programmes and Programming and Talitha Litwayi, Assistant Climate Change Programme Specialist engaged with various stakeholders within the fishing industry from 15th-17th of February 2023, to assess whether the proposal and its proposed interventions have scope within the sector and what other opportunities are possible, as alternatives to fishing in the face of climate change,” the IEF said.
According to the Fund, climate change is an unavoidable fact, and the only way to cope with it is to build the resilience of the sector, starting with small-scale fisheries.
The fishing sector is one of the biggest employers and one of the biggest earners of foreign currencies.
The fishing sector contributes 6.6% to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), generating N$10 billion in 2021 in foreign currency earnings and creating about bout 18,000 workers, of which about 43% work on vessels at sea while 57% are involved in onshore processing.
Globally, Namibia ranks among the top ten fishing countries in terms of the value of production, and in terms of its 400 kg per capita annual production, Namibia ranks second in the world.
However, the fishing industry contributes less than 2% in taxes.
According to the Namibian Statistics Agency 2022 national earnings report, the industry accounted for over 14% of export earnings valued at N$10 billion, contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP).
This was equivalent to 4,5% of GDP.
While many Namibian fishers were born and raised in coastal towns and scraped by on meagre incomes from artisanal fishing, a significant number of fishers were drawn to the coastline of the cold Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of better opportunities.
As for artisanal fishing, the IEF stated that many of these women and men see fishing as their only option for income generation.
Yet climate change has left Namibian fishers vulnerable to external economic and ecological shocks that make catch volumes unpredictable due to climate-change-induced fluctuations of the Benguela current.
The Fund explained that preliminary scientific evaluation indicates that climate variability influences the distribution of marine species as temperature changes, which in turn have negative impacts on employment, income, and government revenue.
“Such variations have severe consequences for the fisheries sector and pose an enormous challenge to fisheries management,” the IEF indicated.
Several reports conclude that small-scale and artisanal fishers tend to be the most vulnerable to environmental change and variability, thus impacting their livelihoods.
The Fund added that with their limited ability to adapt to reduced catch volumes and rates many live in conditions of poverty.
Namibia’s fishing sector is forecasted to grow by only 1.3% in 2023, due to an unlikely increase in the total allowable catch (TAC), owing to a slow growth in the country’s stocks. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org