It was one of the main reasons of our tour to visit that part of the coast
of Namibia which comprises its main harbor: Walvis Bay.
While the rest of Namibia became independent in 1990, Walvis Bay
remained South African until 1994.
In June 1997, I had been interviewed by a Danish company to serve as
team-leader for a DANCED foreign aid project dealing with
coastal zone management for the Erongo region.
The project was, however, awarded to another Danish company,
and I now had the pleasure of meeting their team-leader, Klavs Bender,
shown on the right, ensconded in the Prime Minister's office.
I also visited the very modern and new Oceanographic Institute and
Marine Aquarium (shown above) where I met some of the
enthousiastic staff of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources:
Dr.Ben van Zyl, the Deputy Director,
Ms Bronwen Currie, in charge of CZM, and
Ms Naomi Coetzee, the librarian.
Coastal upwelling in the cold Benguela Current causes high
productivity, with pilchard as the chief harvest. The fishing fleet is based and the fish processed
in Walvis Bay.
Other resources include lobster, which - from my own experience in 1964 - is very abundant along this desert coast.
In the 1850's, American whalers went here after having exhausted the supply of whales along the American East Coast.
To-date, young seals are still harvested at Cape Cross causing some environmentalist outcry.
Another fascinating visit we made was to the
last remaining guano platform (a Scandinavian log-platform of 17,000 sq.meter area supported by some 1,000 legs) constructed by Mr.A. Winter, an enterprising carpenter, in the 1930's.
Up to 170,000 cormorants roost here, and their annual output amounts to 400-500 tons of guano (16% N, 9%P, 4%K).
Diamonds from the Sea, 1963-1965
Animals of the Skeleton Coast