Prof. Charles Igwe, Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), has urged the Federal Government to conduct studies through effective collaboration of relevant stakeholders to enhance the development of aquaculture sector in the country.
Igwe made the call in Abuja at a one-day workshop on “A Step towards Improving the Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nigeria, organised by Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC), Environment for Development (EfD) Initiative Nigeria, UNN.
He also advised the government to update policies and legal framework to develop a sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management in the country.
“To enhance the growth and effective development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector and achieve the desired objectives, a lot needs to be done.
“Such effort includes conducting studies to find out solutions to the problems in the sector, mobilising stakeholders as well as updating the policies and legal framework for a sustainable fishery management.
“Nigeria is the largest aquaculture producer in sub-Sahara Africa (FAO, 2017), and aquaculture is still facing a lot of barriers and output per hectare is still very low.
“The sector has remained underdeveloped and performance is poor, notwithstanding the output growth over the years,’’ he said.
The vice chancellor said that the sector had a strategic position in the country because of increasing fish production and consumption, but its contribution to employment and poverty reduced.
According to him, about 40 per cent of Nigeria`s protein intake is from fisheries, given fish consumption at 13.3 kg person per year, although below the world average of 20.5kg person per year in 2017.
“The total consumption of fish in Nigeria is about 3.2 million metric tons, with 1.2m local production leaving a deficit that is augmented through import,’’ he said.
Igwe said that to improve output requires dealing with issues such as reporting cases of decline in fish stocks and illegal fishing to appropriate authority as well as reviewing and updating the regulations in the sector.
Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Federal Government was committed to improve the sector as it would increase domestic production of fish in the country.
Abubakar, represented by the Deputy Director, Fishery Department, Mr Emmanuel Okanlawon, said the commitment would help to reduce importation of frozen fish into the country and growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the sector.
“The ministry is pursuing holistic approach to the development of fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector through the diversification programme of the government along the value chain prices.
“The ministry is willing to partner all relevant stakeholders for development of fisheries and aquaculture for economic growth, wealth and job creature as well as food and nutrition security,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, Director of REPRC/EfD UNN, said that the aim of the workshop was to present the findings of two studies on fisheries and aquaculture performance indicators in Nigeria.
Chukwuone said that the meeting was also to mobilise stakeholders to discuss the issues regarding fisheries and aquaculture as such would provide a proffer solution and way forward.
He said that the workshop would also help to strengthen the sector as well as facilitating a sustainable development in the country. (NAN)
Leave a Reply