Marine Fisheries

Fishing-2In Namibia, fisheries have consistently been the second largest sector in the national economy, after mining, in terms of export earnings. Although the contribution of income from marine resources to Namibia's gross domestic product (GDP) has fluctuated over the years, it showed an overall increase from N$288 million (USD41-million) in 1991 to N$2 213 million (USD316-million) in 2003. More than 20 commercially important species are fished and total landings amounted to 549 515 tonnes in 2006.

The government's policy of encouraging on-shore processing and the "Namibianisation" of the workforce has seen direct employment in the fishing industry grow to approximately 14 500 people.

Namibian seafood products, particularly hake, canned sardines, rock lobsters and tunas are sold and enjoyed worldwide. The country's processing factories meet the highest international safety standards, making fish processing one of the pillars of the Namibian economy.

In Angola, sardinellas, horse mackerel, sardines and sea breams are important for the domestic market, whereas shrimps, crabs, lobster and tropical bottom species are targeted for the foreign markets. The fishing industry is the third most important sector of the economy, after oil and diamond mining. The total commercial catch in 2006 was 213 948 tonnes.

Although the majority of the Angolan catch is harvested by industrial and semi-industrial fleets, fisheries also sustain at least 25 000 artisanal fishers. A further 80 000 Angolans, most of them women who prepare and sell the catch, depend on artisanal fisheries for their livelihoods. Seafood is a staple source of protein for most of the human population in Angola's coastal regions. With the decline of agriculture because of the war and its consequences (some of the countryside is still mined) fisheries and aquaculture have become cornerstones of food security for major parts of Angola.

In South Africa, the main targeted species are hake, sardines, anchovy, rock lobsters, squid, tuna and various line fish species. Although the fisheries sector contributes less than two percent to South Africa's GDP, it is an important industry in the coastal provinces and a vital source of income and employment for coastal people.

The country's fishing fleet ranges in size from small rock lobster dinghies, to highly sophisticated freezer trawlers. In 2006, South Africa's total commercial catch amounted to 668 208 tonnes. Subsistence fishers operate along the entire South African coast, harvesting a wide variety of species including linefish, mussels, oysters, ascidians (sea squirts) and periwinkles. Various species of seaweed form the basis of a modest industry which produces alginate products and feed for aquaculture operations.

Sport fishing, particularly recreational hand-lining, is a major attraction for South African and foreign tourists along the South African and Namibian coasts.