Govt helping unemployed fishermen

Although fishing resources, particularly hake, were diminishing, the government was willing to give extra quotas to companies that employed the 1 500 fishermen who lost their jobs five years ago to make up for operational expenses.

This was said by fisheries and marine resources minister Derek Klazen on Friday morning when he signed the renewal of contracts for the re-employed fishermen under the Governmental Employment Redress Programme (Gerp) with companies and the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, at the ministry’s offices in Windhoek.

The labour ministry was represented by deputy minister Hafeni Ndemula.
Gerp is a Cabinet sanctioned initiative through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to secure employment for hake fishermen who lost their jobs through retrenchments, abandonment and their participation in an illegal industrial action.

Klazen said the government decided to help the fishermen who have been unemployed for five years without any income but it is up to the companies employing them to work out the modalities of their employment.

They are paid N$4 000 a month whether they go to work or stay at home.

“Some of our citizens died during this process. They lost their possessions and because they were always hopeful that they would get back to their employment after so many years, the government came in to say let’s help these people,” he said.

He added that the fishermen must understand that their posts were filled when they lost their jobs and they cannot demand where they want to work but must act in line with the modalities of the companies employing them.

“One company might take in 250 of them but cannot give them all work on fishing vessels because each vessel takes in about 60 people. So the company might want to rotate them while others stay at home,” he said.

Klazen added that Namibia does not have fishing vessels of its own and those that come in may first have to be cleared by the European Union to ensure they were not involved in illegal fishing.

He said some of the vessels are Russian owned and could be under sanctions because of the war in Ukraine, and Namibia cannot make use of them.

“So, the process can take two to three months before companies wanting to employ fishermen can get the vessels,” he said. – email:

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