Namib­ian ac­tivists out­raged over bid to ex­port en­dan­gered an­i­mals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WINDHOEK: The Namib­ian govern­ment has or­dered in­spec­tors from the Min­istry of Fish­eries and Marine Re­sources to keep a close eye on a Chinese-hired fish­ing ves­sel which has been an­chored off Walvis Bay, while await­ing a govern­ment de­ci­sion on an ap­pli­ca­tion to cap­ture hun­dreds of whales, African pen­guins and com­mon, bot­tle-nosed dol­phins for ex­port to zoos.

The Ryazanovka is a Rus­sian- flagged whal­ing boat which is be­lieved to have been hired by Chinese zoos to cap­ture and translo­cate the an­i­mals as soon as the Namib­ian govern­ment grants per­mis­sion.

News of the Chinese ap­pli­ca­tion for the cap­ture of the three marine an­i­mal species, which are listed on ap­pen­dix 2 of the en­dan­gered species list of the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), has en­raged lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional con­ser­va­tion and anti-whal­ing groups over the past five months.

An on­line pe­ti­tion calling on the Namib­ian govern­ment to de­cline the ap­pli­ca­tion for cap­ture and translo­ca­tion of the an­i­mals to China by Wel­witschia Aquatic and Wildlife Sci­en­tific Re­search Pty Ltd and the Bei­jing Ruier An­i­mal Breed­ing & Pro­mot­ing Com­pany, has to date gar­nered 6 000 sig­na­tures.

Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Nam­bian Min­istry of Fish­eries and Marine Re­sources Moses Mau­ri­hun­girire said the Ryazanovka, a spe­cialised whal­ing ves­sel, could be en­gaged in the il­le­gal cap­ture of en­dan­gered marine species on Namib­ian wa­ters. The min­istry had or­dered fish­eries in­spec­tors to keep it un­der close sur­veil­lance un­til the govern­ment de­cided on the ap­pli­ca­tion in a fort­night.

“We can­not pre­vent any ves­sels from en­ter­ing our wa­ters, but we can pre­vent them from do­ing il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. We have been flooded with emails over the ap­pli­ca­tion. But the re­sources be­long to the public and for­tu­nately they have an able min­istry of fish­eries, which has a holis­tic view of our re­sources,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Ryazanovka is a 45m long, 448 ton Rus­sian flagged-fish­ing ves­sel, sail­ing un­der IMO reg­is­tra­tion num­ber 8847076. Although its call sign is listed as “UEMX”, its cur­rent po­si­tion, des­ti­na­tion and “last re­port” are all listed as un­known on the IMO ves­sel track­ing reg­is­ter.

Op­po­nents of the ap­pli­ca­tion said con­trary to the sug­ges­tion such cap­ture would help pre­serve the species equi­lib­rium be­tween Namibia’s dol­phins, whales and African pen­guin pop­u­la­tions and the fish species they all feed on, there was no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to sup­port it.

Fur­ther, they pointed out that the ap­pli­cants’ in­ten­tion to har­vest up to 100 bot­tle- nosed dol­phins an­nu­ally lit­er­ally threat­ened the species with ex­tinc­tion on ac­count of re­cent re­search find­ings which sug­gested no more than 100 com­mon bot­tle-nosed dol­phins were left in Namib­ian wa­ters. – ANA

An African pen­guin.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.