White mussel to become a quota species

Floris Steenkamp

“You can prepare yourself. White mussel will become a quota species in the Namibian fishing industry”. With these words Mr. Jose Luis Fernandez, the sole proprietor of Fermar Seafood CC, yesterday showed documented proof that he was already awarded an exploratory right to harvest clams (which include white mussel) by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in November 2017.

Two work teams comprising of formerly dis-advantage people are harvesting white mussel on the 25 km stretch of beach between Pelican Point and “Paaltjies” which is the border with Sandwich Harbour.
I followed the proper procedures as in Spain there is an established fishery harvesting mussels. I am confident this is a viable fishery sec-tor in the making for Namibia and the method we apply cannot lead to the destruction of white mussel populations, Mr. Fernandez explained yesterday at the office of Namib Times in Walvis Bay. The exploratory license has strict conditions attached.
Fernandez also showed Namib Times an official letter from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, dated 2 May 2018, in which the Permanent Secretary of the ministry gave permission to Fermar Seafood CC that it reduces the size limit of the mussels harvested from 38 mm to 28 mm.
In the letter the Permanent Secretary Dr. Moses Maurihungirire explained permission for the smaller size are granted on the basis Fermar’s overseas clients’ demand is for the smaller mussel.
In the meantime, several local groups did not take it lightly when pictures and a video emerged over the weekend of workers of Fermar harvesting white mussel on a large scale.
Namib Times was inundated with calls since Sun-day as people want the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to take action against Fermar’s harvesting of white mussel.
Accusations by the public that Fermar was exporting the mussels as “oysters” were in the mean-time proven wrong. Fernandez showed Namib Times export documentation where the mussels are declared as “Donax Serra” which is the white mussel, albeit also falling under the category clams.

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