Fisheries & Aquaculture News

Namibian Fishing Sector Launches Africa’s First Ocean Cluster

The Namibia Ocean Cluster was launched on April 26, 2024, as a legally registered non-profit entity in Namibia. The founding and associate members signed a commitment in January to minimize waste and maximize socio-economic value of the fish harvested from the Namibian fisheries sector.

In 2021, approximately 23.8 million tons of aquatic foods were lost or wasted, representing 14.8% of total aquatic food produced that year globally. The UN FAO identified reducing seafood loss as a priority action for meeting the Sustainable Development Goal target 12.3 of halving food loss and waste by 2030. The long-term impact of industry shifting to circular economic models will result in increased food production and nutrition security, increases in local employment and a more efficient use of marine resources, contributing to several global environmental and social goals.

The Namibia Ocean Cluster, supported by the World Economic Forum’s Ocean Action Agenda, has been created to bring together the seafood sector and allied stakeholders, with a mission of maximizing the utilization of all seafood harvested. The Cluster’s goal is to promote innovation, research, and markets for fisheries by-products, while enhancing socio-economic benefit. The Namibia Ocean Cluster aims to catalyze increasing efforts, both nationally and regionally, for developing circular models across the seafood industry.

The six founding members of the Namibia Ocean Cluster are made up of leading Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified hake fishing companies Embwinda, Hangana, Merlus, Novanam, Pereira and Seawork, while the three non-fishing associate members are the Fisheries Observers Agency, Namibia Nature Foundation, and Sam Nujoma Campus - University of Namibia. These nine founders represent a wider group who have supported the development and innovation activities of the Ocean Cluster over the last three years. This pre-competitive, collaborative forum is the latest national chapter in a global movement for ‘100% fish’ to cut seafood loss and waste, initiated in Iceland and including Ocean Clusters in Alaska, New England, and Denmark.

“I’m honored to stand as Chair for this inaugural year of the official Namibia Ocean Cluster. It has been a fascinating journey with the World Economic Forum team these past three years and now my colleagues and I are committed to succeed in our collaborative full utilization mission going forward. The founding and associate members look forward to welcoming new members and developing innovative products,” said Pierre le Roux, Sales and Marketing Manager of Seawork, and new Namibia Ocean Cluster Chair. While the Cluster is currently driven by the hake industry, it is open to all fisheries in Namibia, and it is hoped that more companies representing a variety of seafood will join to collaborate on future by-product utilization projects. Non-industry parties, who can bring relevant expertise to enable full utilization, are also welcome to join the Cluster as Associate members. “We are excited to see this important group come to fruition, for the future social benefit and environmental sustainability of Namibia’s fisheries.

The Namibia Ocean Cluster will help minimize waste and maximize the value of the fish harvested, which is good news for people and nature alike,” said Alfredo Giron, Head of Ocean Action Agenda at the World Economic Forum The Iceland Ocean Cluster, leader of the 100% fish movement, has been a strong supporter of the project advising on the development of the Cluster and sharing their own experiences on 100% fish utilization. Namibia joins a growing ‘family’ of Clusters around the world looking at minimizing loss and waste of their seafood and is the first African chapter.

Much of the identified opportunity in by-product utilization reflects similar situations in other global fisheries. This project has produced several reports which outline the process used to develop the Namibia Ocean Cluster and investigate by-product opportunities. The models in this process are replicable for other regions and fisheries and can be found here for any group looking to investigate seafood circularity in their context.

The Cluster was represented at the United Nations Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona in April 2024, joining the panel discussion on aquatic food loss and waste solutions.

This work was funded by UK Defra’s Blue Planet Fund which aims to protect and enhance the marine environment and reduce poverty. The Blue Planet Fund is led by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


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