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Namibian Fishing Firm Buys Stake in Tunacor

NAMIBIA - Beluga fishing, a 100 per cent Namibian owned fishing company, has made a N$50 million investment in Tunacor Fisheries Limited and has acquired a 26 per cent equity stake in the fishing consortium.

Beluga executive chairman Sidney Martin made the announcement in Windhoek on Friday where he added that Beluga Fishing aims to realise the Namibian dream where the country's natural resources are owned, managed and operated by Namibians, reports TheNamibian.

Mr Martin said while companies such as Beluga and Tunacor are merely tasked with the management of a natural resource, it is the resource itself which belongs to all Namibians.

However, since independence the Namibian fishing industry has been characterised by what Mr Martin referred to as "window dressing" as the management of natural resources remained in the hands of foreign investors.

As a result "Namibians never felt empowered," Mr Martin said.

According to Mr Martin, the idea behind the establishment of Beluga Fishing was for a Namibian entity to play a "full and pivotal" role in the Namibian fishing industry.

Through this initiative, Mr Martin brought together a number of fishing rights holders who have also pooled their resources and have invested more than N$100 million in the Namibian fishing industry.

The rights holders, who own a combined stake of 49 per cent in Beluga Fishing, are Diaz Fishing, Morca Fishing, Huab Fishing, Empire Fishing Company and Ombaye Fishing.

Mr Martin said Beluga Fishing has heeded the call of past fisheries ministers for Namibians to invest in the country's fishing industry, adding; "Beluga Fishing has done this and has been successful. Beluga Fishing is a flagship in the Namibian fishing industry."

Also speaking at the event was Tunacor managing director Antonio Mari-o who welcomed Beluga Fishing into the Tunacor group of companies.

Mr Mari-o said Tunacor is currently the only company capable of adding value onshore to hake frozen on land and at sea.

Mr Mari-o added that Tunacor is still in the process of involving more Namibian rights holders and partners in its group of companies and the Namibian fishing industry.

Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua said because the fishing industry operates on an international basis and because it is very competitive, there remains a need for Namibian fishing companies to adopt an "internationally competitive strategy".

Mr Mutjavikua said the equity acquisition in Tunacor by Beluga is a "step in the right direction" towards producing a product which will be internationally competitive.

Lucy Towers

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