Etosha Fishing herewith announces that it is retracting the termination of employment notices issued to all employees in March and April this year. The intended termination, which would have affected all 430 company employees, was set to be effective on 31 July 2023.
Etosha Fishing can also confirm that it has received an allocation of 5,000mt Horse Mackerel quota, as approved by Cabinet, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources as Governmental Objective to sustain the cannery and preserve employment at the company.
Operations at the cannery will however not commence with immediate effect as the company is in the process of sourcing catch capacity to land the quota, however, is confident that it will be able to do so within the 2023 fishing season. All workers will be kept abreast of developments at the company.
Etosha Fishing cautions that the allocation of the 5,000mt relief quota is only a short-term relief measure and will not be able to sustain operations in the long term. The initial request to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources was for a 10,000mt Horse Mackerel relief quota. However, the company will initiate a turnaround strategy aimed at securing the long-term sustainability of Namibia's sole operational cannery.
“We are extremely grateful to the Government and the Ministry of Fisheries for this lifeline. It prevents the cannery from shutting its doors for good. The relief quota buys us a little more time to refine and put in place our turnaround strategy to ensure extended employment terms for our workers as part of our long-term sustainability strategy,” says Volker Paulsmeier, Acting Managing Director of Etosha Fishing. He emphasizes that diversification is pivotal to the future success of the company. “These plans however need time and investments for implementation,” he explains.
Since the introduction of the pilchard moratorium in 2017, which remains in place, Etosha Fishing has pursued all possible avenues to sustain employment and operations, including the importation of frozen pilchards for local canning. Due to a volatile exchange rate and the high cost of importing raw materials, this is no longer a viable solution to sustain operations, hence the company initiated termination of employment procedures earlier this year. The last couple of years have arguably been the most difficult in the history of the company, with consecutive losses recorded annually.
Paulsmeier extends his appreciation to Honourable Minister Derek Klazen, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, for his willingness to continuously engage with Etosha Fishing. He also conveys his gratitude to the Etosha Fishing shareholders, specifically the Board of Directors, for their continuous support in navigating the challenges, and thanks them for their support in the future endeavours.
On behalf of Etosha Fishing, Paulsmeier thanks the Namibia Seamen and Allied Workers Union (NASAWU) for constructive engagements throughout the past months.
Paulsmeier also expresses his appreciation towards the company’s employees for their patience and resilience amid trying times. “Our workforce is at the centre of all of the company’s efforts to remain operational,” he assures.
Established in 1940, Etosha Fishing is one of the oldest operators in the local fishing industry and is the only remaining operational cannery in Walvis Bay.
Over the years Etosha Fishing has entrenched its position as a world-class cannery and true asset to the Namibian fishing sector, and the local manufacturing and food industry.