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Namibia:Pilchard Fishing Suspended

Namibia will not harvest the pilchard fish species for the next three years and will only be able to catch a fraction of the deep-sea red crab for 2018, due to climate change.

This was announced by information minister Tyekero Tweya at a media event on the outcomes of the 21st Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Tweya said the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for pilchard was set at zero metric tonnes for the years 2018-2020, in order to allow the species to recover.

This was also influenced by the impact of climate change that moved the species away from the Namibia's waters, Tweya said.

He added that the decision to suspend the pilchard catch was taken based on "scientific advice" from the scientific advisory council.

"They recommended that for the next three years, there will be no harvesting of this particular species, to ensure that we manage our resources based on scientific evidence in order to allow the fish to recover," Tweya said.

Tweya said Cabinet has approved the harvesting of crabs to be set at 3 446 metric tonnes for the 2018 fishing season, while 340 000 340 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel may were approved for 2018.

The minister added that the decisions were also taken considering the other animals species that are found in the sea that also feed on the almost extinct species.

Fisheries minister Benhard Esau, however, did not respond to the phone calls directed to his mobile phone yesterday.

Apart from that, the information minister also announced that Cabinet has directed the higher education ministry to explore the possibilities of utilising the increased quota of scholarships offered to prospective Namibian students to pursue further studies in Russia.

This will increase the number of Namibian students that will be allowed to study in that country.

Tweya said the decision to increase the scholarship quota in Russia was taken as part of the bilateral agreement between Namibia and Russia during the session of the inter-governmental commission on trade and economic cooperation held last month in Windhoek between the two countries.

The decision was made just days after about 50 medical students studying in that country were crying about the possibility of being expelled within 30 days "because the government has not paid their school fees".

According to the students in Russia, they were also not allowed to attend classes until the fees are paid.

Higher education ministry's spokesperson, Helena Uuzombala, did not respond to phone calls directed to her mobile phone yesterday.

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