The topic of the thesis is "Drug Trafficking as a fisheries crime in Namibia".


The relevance of the thesis:

Namibia’s coastline is 1572-kilometre-long and stretches from the Kunene River in the north to Orange River in the south.  It has two ports along the coastline, namely the port in Walvis Bay and L├╝deritz Bay.  Its waters fall within the Benguela current system. The System is highly productive due to the up-welling of the Benguela Current that contains rich nutrients for the ecosystem to thrive. For this reason, Namibia has one of the most fertile fishing grounds in the world.  Even though the Benguela system sustains a rather low diversity of species, these species are amongst the most productive in the world.  

The sustainable development of Namibia’s blue economy and the management of marine resources is the cornerstone of the Namibian economy.  Currently, the fishing industry is the third-largest sector of the Namibian economy, behind agriculture and mining. It is also the fourth most significant forex earner after mining.  The industry, generating some N$10 billion in export revenue in 2016.  The most valuable fishery species are hake, monk species, horse mackerel, sardines, tunas, swordfish, sharks, rock lobster and deep-sea red crab.  Hake and horse mackerel catches are the most valuable.  

The fishing industry sustains some 16,800 direct jobs 70% of which are in the hake industry.  Horse mackerel processing is also an emerging employment creator, as value addition through on-shore fish processing.  Therefore, the importance of the fisheries sector as a contributor of revenue, socio-economic development, sustainable development, livelihood, employment, and the provision of resources such as protein in the form of fish which contributes to food security cannot be stressed enough.  

Late 2008, the UNGA adopted a Resolution on sustainable fisheries where it [n]otes the concerns about possible connections between international organized crime and illegal fishing in certain regions of the world, and encourages States, including through the appropriate international forums and organizations, to study the causes and methods of and contributing factors to illegal fishing to increase knowledge and understanding of those possible connections, and to make the findings publicly available, bearing in mind the distinct legal regimes and remedies under international law applicable to illegal fishing and international organized crime. 

The transnational criminal groups exploit the fisheries sector globally, depleting fish stocks, negatively affecting vulnerable communities and undermining a States security.  The most problematic aspect of organised crimes at sea is that it is complex and multifaceted therefore a challenge to effective law enforcement as in most cases a coordinated approach from multiple actors is required.  Also, various participants across multiple jurisdictions add on to the difficulty of holding the perpetrators accountable. 

The use of fishing vessels to commit IUU fishing and the trafficking of drugs not only undermines conservation efforts but also poses a danger for a State to meet its obligation to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.  These goals include the conservation and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development; end of poverty in all its forms, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.  

Illegal activities in the fishing industry is an international problem which Namibia is unfortunately not exempt from. Lately, there have been newspaper reports of IUU fishing in Namibia’s waters.  This could be possible as Namibia has relaxed its monitoring, control and surveillance activities in recent years due to financial constraints resulting in patrol vessels and aircraft no longer conducting their operations.  To add, the recent publication of an investigation led by Aljazeera, gave a glimpse of the corrupt power brokers and global business elites defrauding the Namibian economy in the fishing industry. The thesis analysis is of the Namibian legislative framework to determine if it is adequate enough to tackle drug trafficking in the fishing industry. It compares Namibia’s legislation to that of South Africa to determine if there are lessons that can be learnt. 


Additional research done under the chair:

Hashali has co-authored a book chapter with Professor Vrancken from his Master's thesis titled Selective Labour Rights of Fishers in Namibia. The chapter determines whether Namibia conforms with international standards with respect to hours of work and wages for those that work onboard a commercial fishing vessel. The publication is forthcoming. His most recent forthcoming publication is a co-authored paper titled The Role Of Customary Rights In Marine Spatial Planning. The article considers the potential conflict that may arise between the cultural rights of members of coastal indigenous communities and the application of the marine spatial planning legislation in South Africa. These publications were done under the guidance of the Chair.


Previous qualifications:

LLB (NMMU) LLM (NMU), Advance Risk Management (UNISA).

Last updated: 2020.08.27. A.A

Contact information
Hashali Hamukuaya