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Nigeria fish need fall short by 2.1 million metric tons

by Business News Report

Nigeria Government at the weekend said that annual fish demand deficit stands at 2.1 million metric tonnes as the country imports the short fall from Europe and Asia.
This fact was stated in an address delivered by the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, at the 9th Fisheries Committee of West Central Gulf of Guinea, FCWC, in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia with theme, ‘Fish Trade and Value Addition to Fisheries for Social and Economic Benefits of our Population’.
Lokpobiri also disclosed that Nigeria has resolved to properly regulate fishing activities by pursuing greater inter-agency collaboration among the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, the Nigerian Custom Services, NCS, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Marine Police.
According to him from 2017, all fishing vessels in the country would be under the control of Vessel Monitoring System, VMS, and Automatic Identification System, AIS, while fishing vessels above 100 Gross Tonnage, GRT, will have International Maritime Organisation, IMO, numbers, including government has also started the process of ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement, PSMA, and would soon join other countries to ratify the instrument.
He said: “The aspirations and goals of President Muhammadu Buhari in promoting increased fish production as one of the key objectives of achieving food security and unlocking the potentials of our agricultural sector.

“The theme of the 9th FCWC conference, ‘Fish Trade and Value Addition to Fisheries for Social and Economic Benefits of our Population’ could not have come at a better time than now. This is particular because the Government of Nigeria is diversifying her economy from oil to agriculture for food security, job and wealth creation.
“Besides, the deficit in the annual demand for fish in Nigeria is 2.1 million metric tonnes, the bulk of fish import into Nigeria is from Europe and Asia. This is inimical to our socio-economic interest as a region and must be reversed so that we can trade in fish amongst ourselves for the good of our people.
“I was made to understand that the FCWC has been working with other technical partners and Regional Fisheries Management organizations, RFMOs, in the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated, IUU, Fishing, organising workshops towards strengthening capacity and promoting regional cooperation and collaboration amongst member states.
“As you may be aware the West African waters are estimated to have the highest level of IUU fishing in the world. This represents up to 37 per cent of the region’s catch. The Global losses due to IUU fishing are however estimated to be between US$10 billion and US$23.5 billion annually.”
Meanwhile, according to the Minister effective management of fisheries resources remain critical to the sub-region’s economic growth, saying that the issue of IUU Fishing has become a global challenge that requires serious efforts to curtail.
However, he acknowledged that addressing the problems require regional and international cooperation to enhance information sharing and improve relevant inter-agencies cooperation among states in the region.
“In line with this commitment, I am delighted to inform you that the Government of Nigeria is in support of the fight against IUU Fishing and is taking steps at increasing her investments in the patrol of our territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ.
“A joint action plan is already been worked out between the Nigerian Navy and other agencies under which a joint secretariat will be established in the Federal Department of Fisheries to oversee all issues relating to IUU Fishing.
“Nigeria has also built several small patrol boats dedicated for joint monitoring and surveillance by the Marine Police in collaboration with Fisheries Inspectors in our coastal waters”, he stated.

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