Fishing companies probed for unfair pricing

Fishing companies probed for unfair pricing

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has started a second investigation into fishing companies over unfair pricing.

According to a statement issued by the commission on Friday, some companies owning fishing vessels are allegedly setting unfair prices when negotiating fees with fishing rights.

“The fishing companies have been buying quotas at these minimum prices without negotiation through closed bids, however, the companies imposed lower quota usage fees on the fishing rights holders – well below the minimum government reserve price, instead of matching it or offering more,” says NaCC spokesperson Dina //Gowases.

She says the government introduced a governmental objective fish quota auction in 2020, with a minimum price of N$3 000 for freezer quotas, and N$750 for wet quotas from 2021 to 2023.

For 2024, these prices increased to N$3 500 and N$850, respectively.

However, when the companies being investigated negotiate with fishing rights holders, they allegedly set prices lower than the government’s minimum price.

“The commission is therefore of the view that, as a result of the companies conduct of negotiating horse mackerel quota usage fees with the fishing rights holders, while offering non-negotiable prices to the government at the auction, the companies are engaged in potentially anti-competitive conduct by imposing an unfair purchase price on the fishing rights holders in possible contravention,” //Gowases says.

The statement says 11 companies are fishing for horse mackerel and there are 128 rights holders, 20 joint ventures without vessels and 20 operated vessels in this sector.

About 10 companies operate or lease horse mackerel vessels in Namibia.

“We have initiated a second investigation in the fishing sector against various fishing companies which own vessels,” //Gowases says.

She says companies have been given the opportunity to provide their side of matters.

“The commission has afforded the respondents an opportunity within a period of 30 days to make any submissions they wish to make, as contemplated in terms of Section 33 of the Competition Act,” //Gowases says.

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