Angry anglers given free permit for one month

The first cracks appeared in the Ministry of Fisheries’ recent announcement that recreational angling permits will in future cost N$50 per day or N$1500 per month. The Ministry issued a group of unhappy anglers with a month permit for free yesterday, after the anglers vented their frustrations with the situation yesterday during a meeting with the Deputy Director of Resource Management at the National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC) in Swakopmund, Dr Chris Bartholomae.

The group of anglers assembled at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource’s regional headquarters in Swakopmund on Monday, to show their concern about the new N$1500 per month recreational angling permit now in place. The group expressed their particular disappointment in the way the message was conveyed.
Anglers had to learn from news media about the drastic increase to N$1500 per month from N$14 per month. For several weeks, there was no word of the increase that was gazetted, but in a matter of days after the new levy per permit was made public the increase took effect. To aggravate matters the permit offices were closed over the weekend after the N$1500 permit came into effect and nobody could answer the pu-blic’s questions.
The anglers used to pay only N$14 per month for a permit. “Out of the blue” it was raised to N$1500 per month.
A concerned angler who identified himself as Danny Rhode explained most of the fishermen cannot afford this. Rhode continues “I am a pensioner and I get to live off my pension money and fishing, so how can I afford to pay N$1500 per month for the fishing permit?”
He further alleged there is a group at Henties Bay who do not have to pay for a permit and they are allowed to fish as they wish.
Rhode was also amazed by the fact the angling permit’s levy increased to N$1500 per month, yet the fine for fishing without a permit remains N$300.
“So maybe we will go fish without a permit and get caught three of four times which is better them paying N$1500. The permanent secretary had the audacity to say the fishing permit is only N$50 per day. It is also unaffordable and for 30 days it still amounts to N$1500. Most of us here cannot even afford to pay for a taxi and had to walk here”.
The group met with the Deputy Director of Resource Management at the National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC) Dr. Chris Bartholomae yesterday, who informed the group he is waiting for more information from the fisheries ministry’s head office in Windhoek.
The anglers told him they don’t know the way forward and were very concerned about what will happen between now and the time they will get a final answer from the head office. With the N$50 per day permit in place they simply cannot afford to go fishing and without fish their livelihood is directly impacted.
“They told us that they are still working on the so called “bicycle angler” permit [subsistence fishermen], but there is nothing in place yet”, said Rhode. He was referring to new regulations on subsistence fishing that will be announced in the future. The new regulation would waive any payment of angling permits for subsistence fishermen.
“The fisheries ministry thinks the fishermen are mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and feed us manure”.
After the meeting, the group was advised to go to the permit offices where they were issued monthly permits for free.

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