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Follow up on Ombudsman's report - Namibian seal hunt

posted Feb 20, 2012, 10:21 AM by Pat Dickens   [ updated Feb 25, 2012, 9:09 AM ]
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Today we received an e-mail from the Namibian ombudsman Adv John Walters as a follow up to the meeting that was held in September of 2011. We have copied this directly and included our response below. 

Dear All

In my previous correspondence I promised that my report and findings will be available by the end of March 2012, hoping that we will receive the results of the survey to determine the number of seals in Angola, South Africa and Namibia, by the Benguella Current Commission by mid January or February 2012.

However, I have now been informed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources that the survey was in fact done during December 2011, and that the scientists of the respective countries are currently busy to analyse the data. The results of the survey are expected only at the end of May 2012.

In the light hereof, my report will consequently also be delayed. I need this information to draw conclusions and to make recommendations. I can assure you that I am in the meantime busy with the report.

Best regards

John Walters

Ombudsman: Namibia  

The Seals of Nam replied as follows:

Dear Adv Walters.

Thank you so much.

Concerning this survey, we would like some clarity as to whether it can in fact be corroborated by any independent scientists who have no vested interest in the matter? We are skeptical of any government statistics, particularly in light of the fact that Bernard Esau, despite warnings from his own scientists, has increased quotas for fisheries once again!

On the 27 October, it was reported in the "Namibian Sun" that "Alarming news for Namibia's fishing sector is that commercial over-fishing and the increasing volume of by-catches of some of the prime fish stocks has led to a drastic decrease of such species, raising concerns that they could be depleted if current practices continue. 

On the 8th of November 2011, we learned via "New Era" that the "Fisheries ministry has violated the Treasury Act."

On the 24th of November 2011, "The Namibian" reported "Six group rights have been granted for Monk Fish, but no new rights for Pilchard, whose stocks are under strain."

On the 30th of December 2011, the "Namibian Sun" reported that in spite of these warnings, "Pilchard quotas for 2012 drastically increased. The Ministry of Fisheries plans to increase the TAC quota to 31 000 tonnes for the 2012 season."

What changed in 36 days to warrant this increase?

Can the Hon Bernard Esau kindly explain to the good people of Namibia why he is ignoring scientific warnings? Or does he plan to blame the seals some more?

With all due respect, our organization is not prepared to accept any government studies or surveys. Only peer reviewed independent studies will be accepted. We feel that in the light of the MFMR ignoring warnings, their violation of the treasuries act and the general incompetence in the handling of the seal massacre, who is to say they are not inflating the population figures in order to justify higher cull quotas?

We trust you find the above in order.

Kind regards,

The Seals Of Nam

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