Namibians eat 23k tons o fish per annum

Floris Steenkamp & Rudi Bowe

Namibians eat an average of 23 000 metric tons of fish per annum, representing an average consumption of 10kg of fish per person per year.
These statistics were released on Friday by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Re-sources, Bernhard Esau at the business breakfast and launch of the 2018 Namibia Annual National Fish Consumption Day. The National Fish Consumption Day is an initiative of the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT) and will take place at Opuwo later this year.
“Currently, we have a national consumption of about 10kg per person per year, or about 23 000 metric tons, comprising of fish supplied by the NFCPT (7000 metric tons); canned fish (imported and local); fresh fish harvested by riparian and coastal artisanal fisheries at Henties Bay. Also, fish harvested along our rivers such as Zambesi and Kavango and fresh fish traded in restaurants and hotels”, said the Minister.
Namibia has a Government policy in place that seeks for Namibians to eat more fish. The policy wants Namibians to become a fish consuming nation in line with its status as a major fishing nation. “Fish consumption is driven by a deliberate Government policy directed by Cabinet, which seeks to make Namibia a fish-eating nation, in tandem with our status as a major fishing country”, the Minister quoted.
Adding fish is not only a valuable foreign currency earner through exports but if consumed regularly it can reduce the prevalence of cardio vascular health disease.
The Minister also took on critics of Government’s policy of awarding non-commercial quotas to the Trust to promote fish consumption among Namibians. The Minister challenged the critics to come up with a better solution to reach the goal.
In the case of the NFCPT, these quotas not only led to an increase in fish con-sumption among Namibians, but the Trust also created a network of 16 fish shops providing employment to a total of 143 jobs.
The number of fish shops continues to expand.
In his address, the CEO of the NFCPT, Victor Pea, renewed his commitment to use the National Fish Consumption Days beyond just being a celebration of fish culinary delight, but to use these days to eliminate hunger, poverty and unemployment. In this regard, he explained the Trust, seeks to empower learners in rural schools to the same level as learners in urban areas.
Each year the launch of the next Fish Consumption Day takes on the form of a business breakfast for stake-holders to network and also a fundraiser. The funds raised during the 2017 launch of the Annual National Fish Consumption Day were used to buy desks and chairs which will be donated equally among 14 schools in Kavango West Region. The donation comprises 648 learner’s chairs and 765 desks.

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