Confusion at consultation on proposed increase of fishing permits

The consultation on the new levy structure for subsistence, recreational and sport fishing on Friday in Swakopmund was marred by confusion. About 50 stakeholders from various sectors attended the meeting, hosted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
The meeting was advertised by the ministry with the aim of inviting all stakeholders for a consultative meeting regarding the newly gazetted recreational fishing levies, which made provision for the increase to N$1 500 per angling permit per month. The new levy came into force in June, but after widespread public outcry was temporarily suspended. Currently the old levies of N$14 per month or N$168 per annum are still inforce.
Many participants at the meeting were requested to hand in written presentations, but were not aware of that beforehand as it was not advertised. Stakeholders were subsequently invited to hand in written proposals at the ministry.
Furthermore, after the speech of fisheries minister Bernhard Esau (absent) was read out by Deputy Permanent Secretary Ueritjiua Kauaria, the media was requested to leave and not record the input.
“I have suspended implementation of this levy to allow for stakeholder consultations, because I value the input of stakeholders on all matters that they are required to comply with”, Esau’s speech reads.
“The recreational levies were introduced in good faith, after a comprehensive and consultative study that was done by the Ministry in 2009 on instructions of Cabinet, and that covered all fees and levies in the marine fishing sector.”
According to the minister the levies should not be confused with payment of taxes, or other fees such as quota fees. The charging of levies is a “cost-recovery” measure to facilitate service delivery on specific items such as recreational fishing.
“Recreational levies are allowed in order to recover costs associated with personnel involved issuing recreational licenses, inspectors checking on recreational fishers at the beaches, and inspectors checking daily-bay limits at roadblocks.”
According to Kauaria similar consultations on recreational levies will also be held in L├╝deritz and Windhoek within the next four weeks.
Some of the proposals presented during the meeting included a staggered increase of the price of a fishing permit (currently N$14) inline with inflation or introduce different fishing permits for different types of fishing (a specific permit crayfish harvesting for instance).

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