In preparation for executing its National Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SSF), which has been in development for the past two years, Namibia has released new voluntary guidelines for the sustainable management of the nation’s small-scale fisheries.
The guidelines, which were created by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), are intended to protect Namibia’s small-scale fishing communities and strengthen the position of women in these endeavours in an effort to improve food security and eradicate poverty among Namibian communities that depend on rivers and fisheries.
Namibia Executive Director for Fisheries Annely Haiphene told media in early June the country’s small-scale fisheries sector “can provide livelihoods to our people in a form of income, employment, socio-economic benefits, food, and nutrition security at household levels.”
She said the NPOA-SSF addresses gender equality by elevating the role women play in the fisheries sector, in addition to improving the management approaches for the small-scale fisheries sector.
Through the plan, Namibia hopes to “advance policy dialogue on small-scale fisheries through enriching policy direction, engagement and implementation processes at the local and national levels,” Haiphene said.
At least 280,000 people in Namibia, an equivalent of 11 percent of the country’s population, depend on the country’s small-scale fisheries sub-sector for income, employment, socio-economic benefits, food, and nutrition security, according to the FAO.
The implementation of the small-scale fisheries guidelines will be overseen by Namibia’s Directorate of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture through a sub-program dubbed “Implementing the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines for gender-equitable and climate-resilient food systems and livelihoods.”
FAO said the NPOA-SSF “is aimed at assessing capacities, gaps, and opportunities for strengthening the role that women play in the small-scale fisheries sector.”
“The end goal is to empower women in the small-scale fisheries food system by strengthening post-harvest processing and trade and building the capacity for women to improve their skills and capacity to do their work,” the FAO said.
Moreover, successful implementation of the voluntary guidelines would buttress the dominant role the fisheries sector plays in Namibia’s economy and complement contributions by industrialized marine capture fisheries, recreational fisheries, inland capture fisheries, mariculture, and freshwater aquaculture.
Currently, Namibia’s fisheries sector is the largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product at 3 percent, and constitutes an estimated 20 percent of all the country’s exports – making it the second-largest source of foreign exchange in Namibia, the FAO said.