Thanks Ian, it’s been fun!

A compact, easy-to-use guide features more than 350 of the more conspicuous and commonly seen birds in Namibia, the  ‘Pocket Guide Birds of Namibia’  offers:

Concise identification text;

Full-colour photographs of all the species covered;

Up-to-date distribution maps; and

An informative introduction featuring the ‘specials’ of key birding destinations in Namibia.

An ideal introduction and travelling companion for birding tourists in or visiting the region. Bird names also provided in German and Afrikaans.


cover photograph credit = White-tailed Shrike by  G.McGill

Posted in Uncategorized

Why new Fisheries regulations do not have any environmental preservation basis

So Bernard has been duped, once again, purportedly by the commercial fisheries sector (the ‘advisory council’??),  to get a regulatory revision through the system without seemingly any environmental consultation concerning the fact that such a revision has little, if any, impact on the preservation status of pelagic and coastal fish species in the Namibian section of the Benguela current?  He may have stalled some potentially hazardous phosphate mining in the past, but this latest action suggests an ill-conceived money-spinner – to get more bucks for bangs than bangs for bucks.    And knowing that Calle loves catching fish recreationally, I find it hard to believe he actually agreed to this!   

To wit –

Government Notices
– MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES
No. 158

IMPOSITION OF LEVIES ON MARINE RESOURCES: MARINE RESOURCES ACT, 2000
  

Under section 44(3) of the Marine Resources Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000) in consultation with the Advisory Council and with the approval of the Minister of Finance, I –
(a) impose, for the benefit of the Marine Resources Fund, a levy on the marine resources as set out in the Schedule; and
(b) repeal Government Notice No. 80 of 1 June 2002.

B. ESAU
MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES Windhoek, 5 June 2017

4. A person who lands any marine resources or portions of marine resources mentioned in paragraph 5 for recreational purposes, except for subsistence fishing, must pay N$ 1500 levy per month in respect of every fishing permit issued for the benefit of the Marine Resource Fund. 

While I don’t really object to the N$1500 monthly levy for recreational fishing (while it is significantly more costly than elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, it will keep at least some of the South African yahoo vistermanne out of Namibia), I do find the table representing the landed ‘values’ of commercially exploitable fish species in paragraph 5 utterly deplorable.   
For example – small pelagic fish such as pilchards (read sardines), anchovies, immature horse mackerel and herring species, which have seen the most significant population declines in Namibian waters as a result of over-fishing and resultant economic crashes in their respective (trawling and purse-seine) fisheries over the past 5 decades,  are valued at rock-bottom – $ 1.50 to N$ 4.40 per landed kilogram.  In contrast to N$ 20 – N$70+ values for presently economically lucrative large pelagic species (many of which are predators dependent on these small pelagic ‘forage’ fish!).    

More small pelagic fish are landed globally than any other type of fish. (Sadly, “landed” refers to the portion of the catch retained and not discarded at sea – that’s another ugly ‘by-product’ of the pelagic fisheries industry, constrained by politically-charged quota allocation schemes). Large-scale trawling for pelagic species, with a few notable exceptions, is most often linked to supplying fish feed and oil for industrial aquaculture of predators such as salmon. Small pelagic fish used to be among the most populous in the world, and demand for products derived from these fish is increasing.  Small pelagics are used to fuel the growing global demand for animal protein. Large-scale industries process forage fish using what is called “reduction”, which involves cooking, grinding and chemically separating the fat from its protein and micronutrients. The fat and protein form key ingredients in the chemical inputs to animal feed for aquaculture, industrial livestock, chicken farming, the pet food sector and bait. 

So while everyone is complaining about a N$1500 monthly levy to catch fish as a recreational activity, and looking for various devious explanations to convince fisheries inspectors that they are subsistence fishermen in spite of their shiny amaroks and hiluxes,  I grieve about the simple arithmetic (mis)used to calculate these absurd landed values for forage fish.   

Simply put,  why should an ever-decreasing, increasingly rare, population of forage fish be given such lowly landed values?  Because they have some intrinsically lower value as they are mostly reduced to fish meal?   This arse-about-face reasoning can only be the work of some environmentally-illiterate f*ckwits with degrees in economics or business administration;  the work of greedy fools, providing a skewed commercial value system for species of critical environmental resource value / concern.   Frankly, given the well-documented extent of these species’ depredation over the past 5 decades, and their intrinsic value as forage fish for larger predators and increasingly rare megafauna such as whales, sharks and dolphins, they should really have a net N$ / landed kg value far exceeding that of the predators.   Is this simply fish-quota allocation nepotism at its worst? 

For some comprehensive reading in this vein – dave boyer’s review in 2000 – e.g., 

While also factoring in more recent commercial harvest figures – 

After several decades of overexploitation, are Namibia’s marine resources truly showing any signs of recovery, as claimed by several economically-biased fisheries reports?

They attempt to impress with reports of monkfish catches having increased and become an important component of the deep trawl industry.  Sies tog! Just because they are processed to imitate crab and lobster flesh, doesn’t mean they would show up on the dining table in “the flesh” so to speak – 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Monkfish.jpg
The hake fishery has grown since Independence, although catches are still considerably below those of earlier years.  Whether this increase is sustainable is not clear, particularly as it is based largely on an influx of deep-water hake rather than an increase in abundance of local stocks.  The midwater horse mackerel fishery which made good catches in the 1990s, has declined since then.  Likewise,  the rock lobster fishery has declined, and the orange roughy fishery, which in the mid 1990s promised so much, has become effectively non-existent.  Of greatest concern is the failure of the small pelagic stocks, and in particular sardine, to recover. Indeed, at the end of the 1990s the stock was in a similar state to that of the late 1980s, and the anchovy stock, which helped carry the purse-seine fishery through the poorer years of the 1980s, has all but disappeared. 

Far more preservation-conscious management procedures need to be developed.  Increasing fishing levies on recreational fisheries, and setting high landed values won’t bring back size west coast Steenbras and Kob,  if harvesting levels are not also set to enable stocks to return to levels that will provide maximum sustainable yields.   
So what options are there (if we had a genuinely environmentally-concerned Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources) ?
Firstly, the west coast steenbras must, like the Galjoen, become a non-commercial, red-listed, no-sale species, meaning that it would become illegal to sell or buy this fish, anytime, anywhere.  
If stocks of this endemic species are to be recovered and managed wisely, there should be an initial moratorium on catching and keeping any size Steenbras for at least 5 years  (there is strong evidence, from studies of similar angling species in South African waters, for exploited fish species to recover stocks following protection within a marine reserve).

[I remain a vocal proponent of BOFFFF rules of fisheries management. BOFFFF = Big Old Fat Fecund Female Fish. BOFFFF are the larger, older females which generally produce a lot more offspring, more times per year, than younger females do (in long-lived species like our Steenbras!). Additionally, the offspring of larger females are often healthier and more likely to survive. Older fish are more likely to survive and contribute in the ‘bad years’ when bad environmental factors reduce recruitment to the fish stocks. For many species, one of the best ways to ensure long term successful reproduction and replenishment of the fish stocks is to protect the larger, healthy female breeders. I advocate the introduction of BOFFFF limits (maximum size limits and bag limits to protect large fish) for species like Steenbras, Kabeljou and Galjoen. We should return the big breeding fish to breed another day. We should maximise the protection for fish and habitat, while minimising the impact on, enjoyment of and access to recreational angling. We must also ensure that recreational anglers learn how to handle fish to ensure maximum survival when they catch and release these large fish.]
There are a few management methods available to conserve older fish in an exploited population like our west coast Steenbras:
Reduce the rate of exploitation of Steenbras significantly — even though it can be argued (by our local fisheries scientists) that this is an economically infeasible option, given claims made by the revenue generating tourist fishery (a daily bag limit of ONE west coast steenbras per permit holder, with no more than one specimen per permit holder transported per vehicle, ever);
Institute a smaller maximum size limit – a genuinely “edible” size – of say 45cm – for keeping — an option primarily available for fishes which can readily be released unharmed after capture;

Designate new marine reserves that set aside areas in which fishing for Steenbras is prohibited and older fish can survive and spawn — even though the extent of accessible coastline for our recreational fishery is already relatively small 

Change the attitude of angling tourists who visit our designation recreational angling areas.   The new costly monthly levy system may help this.  

Marine reserve and moratorium options (no-take zones) make sense, particularly for non-migratory, endemic species like our west coast Steenbras and Kolstert/Blacktail, where the full range of sizes and ages can thrive. No other method of management, not even BOFFFF limits, can preserve the potential for longevity as well as marine reserves and allow the contributions of older fish to accrue to the population. 

While no-take zones can be a hard sell to commercial fishermen and uneducated recreational anglers (have you ever seen the piles of litter left behind on our beaches by such recreation? That is, before the howling southwesterly wind disperses it?) the BOFFFF concept should make sense with fishermen who know the value of large spawners — if for no other reason than the fact that larger females produce more eggs, which result in more fish! 

Some seventeen years ago I had published an article in the Namibian, incensed by the environmental degradation resulting from wanton abuse of (power and) fish resources in one of Namibia’s (then) more pristine wilderness areas – the Skeleton Coast Park (SCP). As I recall, the tipping point for me was a government bakkie (pick-up) filled to brim with enormous Steenbras caught on one short day by a crew of Sam Nujoma’s recreational angling entourage north of Moewe Bay – with some bullshit excuse about testing the waters for a trip by Sam and his gang later in the week. A trip which eventually didn’t take place, thank gawd.
I think my concerns remain pertinent – while prices have gone up and fish quotas have been reduced, and we have yet one more new President who doesn’t like to fish (again thank gawd!), the wanton abuse of our coastal angling resources has not abated, with very few controls in place to arrest the slaughter.   
This needs to change – urgently – even if I never get to eat another Steenbras in my lifetime – so that my children and their children can.    And for fecksake ban the commercial exploitation of sharks and especially shark finning altogether. Like rosewood, rhino horn and pangolin scales, these environmentally destructive oriental tastes need to be obliterated.  
POST-SCRIPT – To read an excellent 2003 review article by Henning Melber – “Of Big Fish & Small Fry: The Fishing Industry in Namibia” – on the politics of Namibia’s fishing industry, do try one of the best hacks to come out of the former “eastblock” – where JSTOR is a “not-for-profit service” that charges US$46 for a download (so helping RICH scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive) – this friendly site (http://moscow.sci-hub.cc) provides unadulterated access to Henning’s article – http://www.jstor.org/stable/4006748

Posted in Uncategorized

medical aid – a friendly non-profit association 

Oh! Susanna,         [the fall guy for a local medical practice]
I’m having a particularly bad hair day today. To wit, your final demand refers. 

I don’t have any gripes with NHP medical aid’s junior front-desk staff unable to deal with the bigger picture pissing me off — just one more “friendly” non-profit medical aid association using clever (exploitative) tricks to make eye-watering amounts of money (thanks largely to the underlying greed of the medical ‘profession’ and pharmaceutical monopolies in general) — by making a *distinction* between ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ hospital (emergency) room treatment, and therefore requiring *admittance* to ensure the medical aid scheme’s hospital plan cover will finance the treatment of potentially serious medical conditions! 
No. I don’t. 

I’m annoyed by the manner in which medical aid administrators deal with claims against its membership by medical ‘practitioners’ such as yourselves.   
Since you’re highly unlikely to know the circumstance, let me try to explain. We returned from a trip to the lowveld of eastern South Africa some two weeks priorly, and while there were some initial flu-like symptoms on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th January, these escalated to high fever and other seemingly malaria-like symptoms by the evening of the 17th. This prompted a decision to go to the emergency room at your clinic for malaria testing that same evening. We’ve had bad experiences with malaria in the past, and our regular family GP was not available to provide a service at that stage. 
While there, your attending medical staff returned with blood results (done by pathcare?) which were negative for malaria but apparently diagnosed to have a high (indeterminate and suspect) infection count apparently requiring admittance for an overnight *antibiotic* IV treatment. Hence the IV cost item on your invoice.  
This is where things apparently got ballsed-up by yourselves – 

1. Your medical staff in attendance failed to request a pre-authorization from the NHP scheme for this IV antibiotic treatment/admittance. This would have probably solved the present problem in the first place, and possibly also helped to substantiate the medical diagnosis requiring such treatment and admittance.
2. You subsequently chose to bill me with (inflated) tariffs for emergency room attention and consultation – as a NHP *gold* member – this mistake is reflected on your invoice. My NHP card – presented on the occasion – clearly shows NHP HOSPITAL membership. This is simply lazy accounting. 
3. Your subsequent invoice suggests that I had “run out of benefits in my medical savings account”. This allegation is obviously the result of some more lazy accounting on your and probably NHP’s part.  
4. I responded to this allegation by email to NHP since I had not used my NHP hospital plan membership for ANY claims for several years! 
5. I am still waiting for any kind of *human* response from the NHP administration concerning this issue.   
Using robotic, automated SMS and electronic mail responses to avoid direct human engagement (concerning disputed claims) with its membership is symptomatic of a disinterested, exploitative financial industry seemingly suspicious of their members’ motives. This, I believe, is the underlying implication of NHP administration’s *non-response* to my earlier query (31 March 2017 query number: 3103************) concerning your invoice for N$703.  
Further, the use of a stereotyped ‘disclaimer’ allowing NHP administrator decisions to reject claims without subsequent notification, let alone explanation, to their members, further aggravates this condition. While my present protestation will likely fall on deaf (human) ears again, I do reserve my common-law rights to human attention, and insist this is an *open* communication. Without prejudice.

 etc. 

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Degenerate Art revisited – new beginnings of fascism?

Recently posted on Facebook by a young (white) sympathiser /supporter of the burning of art and vandalism of historical monuments by #Rhodesmustfall protagonists at the University of Cape Town (and subsequently at other institutions of learning in South Africa) –

If you’re white and you’re complaining about paintings being burned, please do us all a favour and get to some self – reflexive thought processes…

Here’s my knee-jerk reaction to this hasty and short-sighted fulmination –

In March, 1939, the Berlin Fire Brigade burned some 4000 paintings, drawings and prints which apparently had little value on the international market. This was an act of unprecedented vandalism, although the Nazis were then already well used to book burnings on a large scale.   A large amount of “degenerate art” by PicassoDalí, Ernst, Klee, Léger and Miró was destroyed in a bonfire on the night of July 27, 1942, in the gardens of the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris.  By Nazi/Fascist protagonists.

More recently we have seen destruction of world heritage sites in Afghanistan, Mali, Syria, Iraq and Libya –

The Islamic State (IS) has destroyed much of the cultural heritage in the areas it controls in Iraq. At least 28 religious buildings were looted and destroyed, including Shiite mosques, tombs, shrines and churches. In addition, numerous ancient and medieval sites and artifacts, including the ancient cities of Nimrud and Hatra, parts of the wall of Nineveh, the ruins of Bash Tapia Castle and Dair Mar Elia, and artifacts from the Mosul Museum were also destroyed.  The Islamic State also destroyed the Lion of Al-lāt, the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the Arch of Triumph and other sites in Palmyra. The group also destroyed the Monastery of St. Elian, the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church, and several ancient sculptures in the city of Ar-Raqqah.

 

Inasmuch, I agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what this campaign is trying to do here is no different from what ISIS /ISIL and Al-Qaeda have been doing to art and cultural history elsewhere.  To quote, “#Rhodesmustfall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous.”

The #Rhodesmustfall campaign is simply a bunch of myopic, spoilt, ungrateful fascists using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of respected institutions of ‘learning’ in their attempts to destroy history.  Watch them start wearing uniforms scheming new forms of militant intimidation; South Africa’s very own Kata’ib Taswiyya – fundamentalists, looting and plundering,  grabbing the world’s attention through the destruction of art and heritage, particularly given the extensive media coverage that comes afterwards, defining an ugly spot of their own degenerate history.

 

 

 

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Indiegogo just got richer…

As the nascent industry of crowdfunding “matures” (read more profitable for fatcats), some big-name investors are getting involved. Indiegogo, an early player, said an all-star list of tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists is now backing the company.

The new investors include Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, PayPal co-founder and Yelp chairman Max Levchin, Yahoo board chairman Maynard Webb, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Founding Partner Tim Draper, Drugstore.com’s former Chief Executive Dawn Lepore, and a former Visa President Hans Morris. The company didn’t reveal details about amounts invested.

The new money follows a $40 million Series B financing the company raised in January to accelerate its international expansion and develop new product features.

As the industry matures, the field of crowdfunding is also growing cluttered and competitive, with a proliferation of sites that help users connect with donors, investors, or customers willing to “pre-order” projects and products before they’re made.

At the same time prospective backers are being offered an even wider choice of places to lose their money to charletans.

According to LORA KOLODNY   @lorakolodny

Indiegogo Inc. has raised $40 million in a new round of financing, the single largest venture capital investment into a crowdfunding business so far, according to DJX VentureSource.

Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the Series B round, joined by the company’s existing investors Insight Venture Partners, MHS Capital, Metamorphic Ventures and ff Venture Capital.

The new funding brings the company’s total venture capital raised to $56.5 million, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Slava Rubin.

The company does not disclose how much money its platform has raised on behalf of its campaign creators, nor does it disclose the percent of campaigns that attained funding.

Mr. Rubin says Indiegogo distributes “millions of dollars” to people running crowdfunding campaigns in 70 to 100 countries every week. Those campaigns include charity fundraisers, startup teams seeking to “customer-fund” the creation of a new app or device, and filmmakers, musicians and other artists seeking to fund a creative project.

[seriaas? jk]

Kleiner Perkins’ Partner John Doerr says that to remain a leader in the increasingly cluttered field of crowdfunding, Indiegogo should “continue to obsess on the customer…[and] emulate Android and YouTube’s global, open platform strategy.”

[seriaas? They are clearly obsessed by the money, NOT the customer based on our present negative experience with Indiegogo’s customer happiness support programme which issues stereotyped form responses to compalints about rip-off campaigns jk]

John expects the company to invest near term in hiring engineers, accelerating its international expansion and developing new product features that “matter to users.”

Jules Maltz, a general partner with Institutional Venture Partners, also noted the company’s open model, saying he expects Indiegogo to become “the Android of crowdfunding” while viewing Kickstarter as “the Apple of crowdfunding,” referring to the tighter limits Kickstarter imposes on the kinds of campaigns it allows.

Kickstarter bans, among other things, political, “fund my life” and charitable campaigns. Indiegogo encourages these and has fewer limits overall.

[And this clearly is the reason why the sondors ebike was campaigned on Indiegogo, not Kickstarter! jk]

“If people can’t back a campaign right then and there, a campaign will lose a lot of conversions,” Mr. Rubin said…

[and I stand to lose a lot of money…jk]

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in ebike, Indiegogo

Indiegogo Customer Happiness? A response

Oh dear. customer happiness ? indeed.

Sondors-Indiegogo

Please forward my response to your CEO Mr Rubin – nice picture of him with Storm Sondors!

I would appreciate if your company would refund US$ 2396 which I paid in consideration for the (Indiegogo InDemand) pre-sale *perk* of four Storm Sondors ebikes which we planned to have operational, powered by remote solar-charging stations, by a RHINO anti-poaching team in Damaraland in northwestern Namibia by mid July 2015?

In case you don’t know, Namibia is a country in southwestern Africa. We have the largest remaining wild population of seriously endangered Black Rhinos in the world.

The monies which I extended for this product are important to me and the future of rhino conservation, and I am deeply concerned by the fact that a lawsuit was filed by your Agency 2.0 against Storm-Sondors for (contractual) non-payment.

If Agency 2.0 has not been paid, then how am I going to receive these ebikes that meets the specifications that were outlined in the offering, that will be properly supported, will be safe to operate and help Namibia prevent the extinction of the last remaining wild black rhino population in the world as directly correlated to the sexual inadequacies of very wealthy Chinese businessmen who clearly appear to be associated with the manufacture of this Sondors ebike?

I would ask that you step in as the strongest party in this transaction, not have your staff send me very patronising, stereotypic form letters, and refund my money at this time. We are not completely stupid here in Africa; indeed this whole messy business reads like a 419 scam, which has its roots in Nigeria – another country in Africa.

By refunding me, you might consider this as a likely first philanthropic commitment to supporting rhino conservation in Africa, and not come across as just one more callous money-making partner in this “second most successful indiegogo crowdfunding campaign”, while we sweat to prevent rhino horns from getting to Chinese businessmen with erectile dysfunction.

I also expect your team to work with Storm Sondors to resolve any and all of my existing concerns; and share this likely positive engagement with the 13,000 well-meaning supporters of the Sondors ebike campaign.

Regards

Joris Komen
Netday Namibia

cc. Ambassador Martin Andjaba, Embassy of Namibia, Washington DC
cc. One Africa Television

powered by solar energy!

On Fri, Apr 24, 2015, at 09:22, Christine (Indiegogo Customer Happiness)
wrote:
> ## Please do not write below this line ##
>
> [Indiegogo Support] Re: Sondors bike campaign
>
> ———————————————-
>
> Christine, Apr 24, 01:22
>
> Hi Joris,
>
> Thanks for your question. Indiegogo is not able to guarantee that perks
> will be delivered or deemed satisfactory. The nature of crowdfunding is
> such that campaigns on Indiegogo are raising funds for work-in-progress
> projects, ideas, or causes. Contributing to a campaign and claiming a
> perk on Indiegogo is not the same as buying something online. Because
> projects may still be in their early stages, many things can happen
> between the time the project is raising funds and the expected project
> release date. While your contribution brings the campaign idea closer to
> becoming reality, there’s always the chance that a project may end up
> falling through, and the campaign owner may not be able to offer their
> contributors the perks they’d originally promised.
>
> That said, campaign owners **are** still held by our Terms of Use
> (http://www.indiegogo.com/about/terms) to fulfill perks. If for any
> reason they’re unable to offer you the perk you claimed, campaign owners
> are obligated to reach out to their contributors and work out a mutually
> satisfactory resolution- this resolution could be an alternative perk, a
> promise to issue the promised perk at a later date, or a refund. We
> always recommend opening up a conversation with the campaign owner if you
> have any question about what will happen to your contribution.
>
> Thanks for your understanding.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Christine
> Customer Happiness
> Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com)
>

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in #namibia, ebike, EV, Indiegogo, solar power, sondors, sondors ebike

How To Purchase Ebike Motors And Batteries From China Without Getting Screwed Over (too bad) In The Process

Some more sage advice on ebike acquisition!

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