Find Fisheries expertise in Namibia
- Overview of the industry
- Fishery bodies
Fisheries together with agriculture, hunting and forestry contribute 11% of Namibia’s GDP (2007). The fisheries sector is the third-largest in Namibia’s economy, behind agriculture and mining. It is also a fast growing industry six times the size of what it was at the country’s independence in 1990. With an ocean area of 580,000 km2, an inland water area of 5000 km2, Namibia has one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. Namibia’s fisheries employ about 5700 people in the primary sector, and about 7900 in the secondary sector, and it is worth about $592 million, while fishery exports are worth about $375 million and imports about $21 million.
The vast majority of catch (85%) is processed and exported, accounting for 15% of Namibia’s total exports. Sales to the domestic market are small due to the small population size (2 million), while exports are in various product forms to international markets such as the EU, USA, The Far East as well as African markets.
The Namibian fishing sector can largely be separated into marine capture fisheries, inland capture fisheries and the aquaculture subsector which is composed of both marine and freshwater fisheries.
Marine capture fisheries are dominated by industrial fishing. The catch profile for deep water trawlers include demersal fish such as hake, monkfish, sole, snoek and kingklip, while the catch profile for mid-water trawlers includes horse mackerel, pilchard and anchovy.
Namibia does not have any notable fresh water bodies suited to capture fisheries, nor are there any significant lakes but limited fishing activities do occur in rivers in the Caprivi and Okavango region.
Namibia also has a small but vibrant aquaculture sector which produces abalone, oysters, mussels and seaweed. There are also a few inland capture fisheries that produce tilapia, while catfish are harvested from rivers and flood plains.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is the key fisheries institution, and is responsible for the development and management of capture fisheries and aquaculture. Namibia is a member of a number of regional organisations including the Benguela Environmental and Fisheries Interaction and Training Programme (BENEFIT) which facilitates research between Angola, South Africa and Namibia; the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLEME) which focuses on trans-boundary management issues, and the Intergovernmental Organization for Marketing Information and Co-operation Services for Fish and Fishery Products in Africa (INFOPECHE) which aims to modernise the industry, create a more balanced supply of fisheries, make best use of export opportunities, and to promote technical and economic co-operation among contracting partners.