The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau officially launched the plan at Walvis Bay on Friday.
The plan will guide the conservation and management of hake, the most valuable fish species in Namibia's fishing industry - mostly because of its value in foreign currency, reports TheNamibian.
The development of the plan represents the first step in assessing policies that relate to the hake industry. It also outlines the current policies into one document, and it provides an overall view of the hake industry, allowing for the identification of policy gaps and areas that may need adjustment and improvement.
The total value of Namibia's fishing industry in 2013 was more than N$11 billion, of which almost 50 per cent was generated by the hake sub-sector. The hake industry is also the biggest employer in the fishing industry with about 8,400 workers. At Independence there were no hake factories in Namibia; today there are 13.
“Without the hake itself, there will be no hake industry and no benefits to Namibia; hence the need to ensure the responsible and sustainable use of this resource,” said Mr Esau at the launch.
Namibia has managed its fisheries well since Independence, according to Esau, with good management systems, legislation and policies, but the time had come for these to be reviewed.
“We are not the same country as back then; therefore the hake industry is not the same industry as back then. We have developed and therefore the policies that served us well in the past may not be the best policies for our future,” Mr Esau said.
The process of creating a management plan for the different species started in 2011. The hake plan is the first to see the light.
Mr Esau said the new plan represented a new beginning for the industry and was in line with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) code of conduct (of which Namibia is a signatory) for responsible fisheries.
Chairman of the Namibian Hake Association, and Namibian Fishing Confederation, Matti Amukwa, said the plan will develop the industry sustainably.
“Sound management will continue to secure long-term sustainability,” he said.