Angola Table of Contents
Fishing was a major industry before independence. In the early 1970s, there were about 700 fishing boats, and the annual catch was more than 300,000 tons. Including the catch of foreign fishing fleets in Angolan waters, the combined annual catch was estimated at 1 million tons. Following independence and into the late 1980s, however, the local fishing industry had fallen into disarray, the result of the flight of local skilled labor and the return of the fishing boats to Portugal. By 1986 only 70 of the 143 fishing boats in Namibe, the port that normally handled two-thirds of the Angolan catch, were operable. Furthermore, most of the fish-processing factories were in need of repair. Once an exporter of fish meal, by 1986 Angola had insufficient supplies for its own market.
Some of the foreign fishing fleets operating in Angolan waters were required by the government to land a portion of their catch at Angolan ports to increase the local supply of fish. Fishing agreements of this kind had been reached with the Soviet Union, which operated the largest number of boats in Angolan waters, and with Spain, Japan, and Italy. Spain also agreed to help rehabilitate the Angolan fishing industry in exchange for fishing rights. In other cases, the government allowed foreign fleets to export their entire catch in exchange for license fees.
In the mid-1980s, the government began rehabilitating the fishing industry, especially in Namibe and Benguela provinces. The first priority was to replace and repair aging equipment. To accomplish this goal, the government was receiving a significant amount of foreign assistance. In 1987 the EEC announced plans to provide funds to help rebuild the Dack Doy shipyards and two canning plants in Tombua. Spain sold Angola thirty-seven steel-hull boats for US$70 million, and fourteen modern fishing boats were on order from Italy.
Data as of February 1989