In a memorandum to the Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) members, the CEO, Dr. Chris Brown, stated that the NCE will review all Government Gazettes as they are published and, where there is relevant environmental content, share this with its members.
“There are three important Government Notices, No. 296, 297 and 298 contained Government Gazette of 15 December, all concerning inland fisheries. In No. 296 the Ministry of Fisheries bans (outlaws) the use of monofilament nets in Namibia for regular fishing. This is a really important move as monofilament nets, entering north-eastern Namibia via Zambia from China, have had a devastating impact on the status of fishes in the Zambezi and Okavango Rivers and adjacent wetlands. I understand that Zambia is also moving towards outlawing monofilament nets for regular fishing.
In No. 297 the Ministry of Fisheries declares a closed season on all fishing in the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers every year, from 1st December to 28th February. This is to give fish stocks a chance to recover, move into the floodplains with rising water levels, and breed.
And in No. 298 the Ministry of Fisheries declares the Kasaya Channel in the Implalila Conservancy a fisheries reserve. This gives the conservancy similar rights over the fishes and fishing in the Kasaya Channel as it has over wildlife under the conservancy legislation in MET. There is a fisheries management agreement for the reserve, no netting allowed, and angling is catch and release. This means that the Kasaya Channel will have a healthy stock of fish (a) for restocking surrounding waters, and (b) to attract anglers, who pay a daily fishing fee, thereby creating an additional income for the conservancy, based on its sound fisheries management. This is an extremely important step for fisheries in north-east Namibia. Noteworthy is the provision for cooperation between partners and different agencies for patrolling for management the Kasaya Channel Fisheries Reserve by Conservancy Tour Guides, Conservancy Game Guards, Conservancy Fish Monitors, in cooperation with Ministry of Fisheries staff, the Namibian Police and MET. I believe that this initiative will be replicated in many other rivers and wetland areas of north-east Namibia, and serve as a model for community management of fisheries and wetland systems in tropical rivers and lakes across Africa.
The Namibia Nature Foundation, together with the Ministry of Fisheries, has been spearheading the fisheries work that has led to these three ground-breaking Government Notices. So congratulations to the NNF. I look forward to seeing Fisheries Reserves being establish widely across NE Namibia. I have written to the Minister of Fisheries on behalf of the environmental NGO sector congratulating him on this notable progress.”