Referring to the local Trachurus Fishing Company, which recently acquired two fishing trawlers valued at US$12.6 million, Namibia minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernard Esau said, "I cannot over emphasise the importance of the need to further develop the sector through innovation."
The Namibian Standards Institution's (NSI) new Fishery Inspection Centre, located in Luderitz, is expected to further increase international market access for Namibian fishery products.
The minister of trade and industry, Hage Geingob, stated that the NSI has continued to strengthen the services it provides to the fishing and mariculture industry.
NSI had embarked on expanding its testing capacity to heavy metals, histamine and norovirus in fish and fishery products. These additional test methods have been essential to reduce the turnaround time of tests which have hitherto been conducted outside Namibia.
"The NSI also has commenced with work to implement the country's Shellfish Sanitation Programme and will soon apply to the country's trading partners for Namibia to be added to the list of third countries approved to export shellfish to the European Union and other markets in North America and Asia," Geingob said.
Namibia's fisheries sector is one of the highest contributors to the country's economy, and second only to the mining sector in terms of exports. The industry employs approximately 10,000 people.
High value-added fish products are processed for export purposes to markets in Europe, Australia, United States, Far East and Africa.
The government has embarked to develop the aquaculture sector in order to increase economic growth and provide more employment opportunities for Namibians.