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African Journal of Marine Science

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A decade of exploitation and management of the Namibian hake stocks

A van der Westhuizen

Abstract


The hake resource is the most important commercial fish species in the demersal sector of Namibia's fisheries, both in terms of annual catch and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The fishery now spans four decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, hake were exploited heavily by mainly foreign fleets, total catches peaking at more than 800 000 tons in 1972. The first control measures, the use of a minimum mesh size of 110 mm and the allocation of quotas to each member country participating in the hake fishery, were implemented by the International Commission for the Southeast Atlantic Fisheries in 1975. In 1990, the Namibian Government took action to control fishing activities in Namibian waters, and the enactment of its Fisheries Policy (1991) and Sea Fisheries Act of 1992 provided for the control measures to be taken. The conservative management strategy adopted between 1990 and 1993 resulted in gradual increase in hake biomass, but thereafter the stock declined. The hake fishery is currently managed on the basis of a total allowable catch that takes into consideration the rate of increase or decrease in the size of the resource. Since 1990, the demersal trawl fishery has accounted for approximately 90% of the total hake catch. The resource is subjected to both directed fishing and bycatch, the latter taken in directed fisheries for species such as horse mackerel, monkfish and sole.

Keywords: biomass, hake fishery, management, stock assessment

African Journal of Marine Science 2001, 23: 307–315



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