The blue sector’s legal framework, as with the sector itself, can be divided into two parts: one part governing the exploitation and management of marine resources and another governing the aquaculture sector.
Shortly after independence, the Government of Namibian proclaimed a 200 nm EEZ, (Act No.3 1990) in accordance with the provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.
In 1992 a detailed White Policy Paper entitled, “Toward responsible development of the Fisheries Sector,” presented the goal and strategies to achieve sustainable utilisation and development of Namibia’s marine fisheries resources.
This master plan, based on long-term perspectives, has proved to be the right approach for the development of Namibia’s fishery sector.
The Sea Fisheries Act of 1992 is considered a cornerstone of fishing management in Namibia. It was revised at the end of the 1990s and replaced by the Marine Resources Act (act No 27 of 2000) which now represents the primary marine fisheries legislation. It entered into force in August 2001.
The Act incorporates international best practice for fisheries management and incorporates the key elements of the international agreements entered into by Namibia. The Act is based on the strategy to provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem and responsible utilization, conservation, protection and promotion of marine resources on a sustainable basis; for that purpose to provide for exercise of control over marine resources.
Various regulations have been promulgated under the act. This established the terms and condition for all vessels and fishers operating within Namibia’s EEZ. In line with Namibia’s obligations as a flag state, regulations also prescribe the activities of Namibia flag vessels operating outside the national EEZ. Under The Marine Resources Act (2000), a Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) has been established, which provides advice to the Minister on Fisheries policy, management and development issues.
Other important legal documents are:
- The Marine Resources Regulations (2001),
- Namibia’s Marine Resources Policy (2004) and Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone of Namibia Act (1990),
- Policy statement on granting of right of exploitation to utilize marine resources and on the allocation of fishing quotas.
- The Inland Fisheries Resources act (No.1 of 2003), which governs inland fisheries.
- The Aquaculture Act (No.1 of 2002), Aquaculture policy of 2001.
Four basic objectives have underpinned the effective management policy:
- The rebuilding of depleted fish stocks;
- The development of a national fishing and processing industry;
- Empowerment of previously disadvantaged; Namibianisation of the industry.