Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Namibia Chamber of Environment update

Good Morning,
For those that are not yet aware this is an important update.

Many of you will be aware, that last year saw the establishment of the Namibia Chamber of Environment, and the appointment of Dr Chris Brown as Head of this organisation.
Since taking office,  Chris has been very active raising concern on issues affecting our environment,  - a prominent move being his open letter to the Chinese Embassy, - in which the NCE addressed the worrying increase of Chinese nationals involved in poaching and other criminal acts against the environment. This attracted much media attention, as well as reaction and engagement from the Chinese Ambassador and MET.
Today,  the NCE took issue with the alarming rate at which Namibia's fish population,  (both fresh and salt-water fish) is being depleted.
I draw your attention to three important Government Notices, No. 296, 297 and 298 contained in the attached 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.

The NCE will review all Government Gazettes as they are published and, where there is relevant environmental content, share this with you.
Kind regards,

Dr Chris Brown
18 Nachtigal Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
PO Box 40723, Ausspannplatz,  Windhoek, Namibia

e-mail: ceo@n-c-e.org

NCE democratizes access to environmental information at www.the-eis.com - Namibia's one-stop-shop for retrieving and submitting environmental information