New Telegraph

February 29, 2024

Stakeholders seek new policy in aquaculture, fishery sector

Major stakeholders in fisheries and aquaculture are calling for a review of the Nigerian Fisheries Act and policies to accommodate changing dynamics that will improve fish production in the country.

The call was reinforced by the outcome of findings of two studies conducted on fisheries and aquaculture performance indicators in the country by the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre, Environment for Development (REPRC-EfD Nigeria) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

 

Researchers at the Centre had made presentations based on the studies conducted on “Fisheries Performance in Nigeria in Comparison with Some African Countries, and Catfish and Tilapia Aquaculture Performance in Nigeria: Evidence from Aquaculture Performance Indicator Approach.”

 

Meanwhile, in the studies presented by the Director of REPRC  EfD Nigeria, Dr. Nnaemeka Chukwuone, and Dr. Ebere Amaechina in Abuja, it was revealed that Nigeria was not showing leadership in fish production when compared to other African countries.

In his remarks at the workshop tagged “A Step Towards Improving the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector in Nigeria,” the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Charles Igwe, said that the strategic importance of the fishery and aquaculture sector could be enhanced by “conducting studies to find solutions to the problems in the sector, mobilisation of stakeholders, updating the policies and legal framework, as well as developing a sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management plan.”

Also, the Vice-Chancellor added that the fishery and aquaculture sector had all it takes to provide alternative revenue for the country as well as create massive employment for the country’s teeming population.

 

On his part, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Muhammad Abubakar, added that the government was doing its best to improve the sector, even as he said that the ministry had introduced backward integration policy to encourage fish importers to go into fish and shrimp farming, established fish farm clusters nationwide and set up feed mills in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

 

The Minister commended the REPRC-EfD Nigeria for its forthrightness in providing a policy roadmap for the government through research and studies. In a communique issued at the end of the workshop, stakeholders noted that there was need to carry out social and cultural assessment as it relates to fishery vessel registration and fishermen registration in order to restrict incessant and open access to Nigerian waters, while they also harped on the need to know the state of fishery through stock assessment.

However, the studies, according to a statement by UNN, noted that although Nigeria’s fish production had improved over the years, the bulk of fish consumed by Nigerians were still imported.

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