The stakeholders in the Maritime sector have said that the solution to improve fish supply across Nigeria would require that the Federal and State Governments, as well as corporate and private individuals, support the operators to become effective on water.
They said that adequate support for both the artisanal and the commercials operators would improve their welfare as well as harness the potentials and opportunities available in the blue sea economy.
The stakeholder further argued that like the fishers in Francophone countries, Nigerians operating on the blue sea also required support to acquire the needed skills that would ensure they become effective and maximise the benefits in the sector.
They made the appeal during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos State to brainstorm on challenges facing fisheries industry with a view to charting a formidable solution to address them, saying part of the solution would be the support.
The stakeholders at the meeting includes, the representative of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (FMARD), Vice President of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), and the representative of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture amongst others.
Speaking at the meeting, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Dr. Sule Yussuf, said that the Nigerian coast, which is 860 kilometers and about 462 nautical miles, has several potentials that could help boost the country’s economy.
While speaking on the need to provide adequate security for fishermen, especially the artisanal and the commercials who supply 90 percent and 10 percent of the nation’s demand respectively, Yussuf noted that there was a need to train and retrain the fishermen in order for them to compete with the reality of things across the globe.
In his words, “Under the blue economy, you would not be surprised that we have crude, gas and fish, and today we are discussing fish, there is no type of fish that you would not get in Nigeria. There are no species of fish we’re talking about that we don’t have in this country and that’s why we’re talking about fishery governance and fishery management system, the policy in place based on those conventions in Ghana meeting which Nigeria was a part of.
“We need to look at it because of so many vessels visiting and harvesting in Nigeria, we need to look at the IOU, bringing all the stakeholders together. Particular the essence of this meeting is about commercial and also artisanal, don’t forget that the artisanal supply about 90 percent of our demands while the commercials supply the remaining 10 percent.
“We must ensure they have security, that is the reason we must look into IUU , the vessel monitoring system is so important to us, we need to train and retrain all our fishermen”, the director added.
He, meanwhile, urged the Federal Government to empower the Nigerian Navy in terms of area surveillance, modern equipment, and daily overflying, adding that bringing all stakeholders together, data collections, information sharing were also important in making the industry a profitable one.
He said that bringing all the agencies together in terms of data collection, information sharing was very important, saying government should empower the Nigerian Navy more in order to engage in area surveillance and daily overflying because if you look at the MCS is not about arresting, it’s all about deterring not allowing it to happen”.
Representing the Nigerian Navy in the meeting, Gideon Kachim, said the Navy is ready to participate as a strong stakeholders in performing its statutory duties to allow fisheries to thrive on water and protect them from any form of illegalities across the ocean.
The Founder of Nigeria Women in Agricultural Research for Development, Prof. Stella William, said that the purpose of the meeting is to begin a dialogue on how to impact on the lifes and livelihood of fishers, especially the small scale ones known as artisanal fishers.