Fishing from the jetty illegal – Council dusts off 1989 by-law

A long existing Swakopmund municipal by-law, prohibiting people from fishing from the jetty, has been dusted off and is being enforced once again. The by-law, which was long forgotten, has opened a question: how many other by-laws which have vanished into the archives of the Swakopmund municipality are being overlooked?
For as long as many can remember, fishing from the jetty was a favorite part-time for Swakopmund residents. Yet, it was actually illegal all the time and could have brought anglers in trouble.
The by-law dates back to at least 1989. It states: “No person shall angle from the jetty or bring any angling equipment onto such jetty. “The issue regarding fishing from the jetty popped up recently after Quinton Liebenberg, owner of the Restaurant Jetty 1904, complained to the municipality about the behavior of certain fishermen on the jetty.
“I don’t mind if they fish on the jetty and I even supported them, but not when they misbehave”, Liebenberg said to namib times. According to him it never used to be an issue. That changed this year when a group of unruly anglers started fishing on the jetty at night, mostly between 12:00 and 02:00.
They clean their catch on the jetty and leave the fish gut lying around. Or worse: Some anglers threw the guts against the restaurant door and even defecated on the jetty.
“I have it all on CCTV footage”. Liebenberg challenged.
Initially he called in a security company to defuse the situation, but the fishermen blatantly refused to leave the jetty. “During one incident the police was called in, and initially the police officers wanted to arrest the security guards saying that the fishermen were abiding by the law”, he explained.
It was thereafter that Liebenberg, by chance, heard about the by-law, prohibiting fishing on the jetty altogether.
Shortly afterwards, a meeting was held at the municipality regarding the above, where even municipal officials admitted not being aware of the existence of this by-law, even though it is freely available on the municipality’s website.
A second, follow-up meeting was held yesterday.
Liebenberg has in the meantime set-up “no fishing” signs on the jetty – much to the dismay of regular fishermen, who do behave, some are subsistence anglers. “You cannot enforce the law for only some people. Laws apply to everybody”, he added.
The municipal traffic department, mandated as general law-enforcement officers in Swakopmund, should monitor the jetty and enforce the by-law.
Since the above was discovered, various other, ancient municipal by-laws also popped up which are similarly being overlooked:
∙One by-law states that no angling whatsoever is allowed from the jetty up to Vineta point.
∙Another by-law prohibits hawking anywhere in Swakopmund, except at designated areas. This would make the activity of all so-called Makalani sellers illegal.
∙Another by-law makes surfing in Swakopmund illegal – it is only allowed if Council gives its consent.
And there is the saying: a few rotten apples…………..


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