NaCC launches investigation into alleged price fixing of quota usage fees

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has launched an investigation into the alleged price fixing of quota usage fees paid to fishing rights holders by various fishing vessel owners and operators.

This comes after the NaCC received evidence suggesting possible cooperation among numerous vessel owners and operators in the Namibian fishing industry on 18 August 2023 and 22 September 2023, respectively.

The alleged collusion takes the form of fixing fishing quota usage costs, which are paid to fishing rights holders when they engage in quota usage agreements with vessel owners/operators.

Dina //Gowases, NaCC Corporate Communications Practitioner, told Nampa on Monday that because these fishing rights holders do not own vessels, they sell their assigned fishing quotas for a price to vessel owners and operators.

She stated that the operators provide the same price to all fishing rights holders and refuse to negotiate fees when the fishing rights holders express reservations about the offered quota usage

‘The NaCC is informed that fishing rights holders receive annual quotas from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, which they are required to utilise fully by the end of each fishing season. This necessitates those that have no vessels to approach the vessel owners and operators, and enter into quota usage agreements, for the latter to utilise the allocated quotas on their behalf,’ she said.

//Gowases added that these owners and operators prioritise harvesting their own quotas and only thereafter, endeavour to harvest the fishing rights holders’ quotas.

‘At this juncture, it is alleged that fishing rights holders have no choice but to agree to any quota usage fees that the vessel owners and operators are offering, also taking into consideration that, the vessel owners and operators also have access to their own fishing quotas as well as those of National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) and Government objective quotas,’ she said.

The NaCC therefore, initiated an investigation agains
t various vessel owners and operators to establish whether their conduct constitutes a contravention of Section 23(1) read with Section 23(2)(a) and Section 23(3)(a) (i.e., directly or indirectly fixing of purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions) of the Act.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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