Expert laments insufficient supply of fish, urges FG to provide tight security to protect aquatic resources.

MRS. Mojisola Funmilayo Siyanbola,
an expert in the area of Aquaculture, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide effective and efficient proactive security measures to protect aquatic resources in order to tackle the problem of inadequate supply of fish in the country.

Lamenting the shortage of fish supply, she maintained that the problem of insecurity is a major problem facing aquatic resources especially the marine resources.

The Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biology, The Polytechnic Ibadan on Wednesday while delivering the 11th Inaugural lecture of the institution titled ‘Nigeria’s fish supply deficit: Bridging the gap through sustainable aquaculture’ posited that there is a need to transform aquaculture from subsistence to commercial level due to the inadequate supply of fish especially in the country.

She decried, “from all indications, fish production in the country has been deficient for many years in meeting the projected domestic demand. This trend seems to be unrelenting due to the ever widening gap between demand and supply”.

“The activities of the artisans and industrial fisheries have been the backbone of fish production in Nigeria, but over the years, their contributions have been unable to meet up with the annual demand.

“The problem of insecurity which is a serious problem to our aquatic resources especially the marine resources should be tackled. There must be an effective and efficient proactive security measures to protect our aquatic resources. Of recent, there were reported cases of the incursion of foreign trawlers in the fishery segment of the marine industry which made Nigeria to lose about N300 billion as a result of inadequate protection of our waters. Also recently, because of the incessant attacks on fishing crews, the Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NTOA) reportedly called its fleet of over 200 trawlers and 20,000 workers back to the shore thus leading to a shortfall in fish supply.

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“There is need to transform aquaculture from subsistence to commercial level which is very vital for the development of the nation in the areas of food security, livelihood and infrastructural development.

“For now, the unsatisfied demand is met through importation. The domestic fish production has not been able to reduce the dependency on imported fish”, Mrs.
Siyanbola continued.

Soliciting for provision of soft loans and grants to young Nigerians to enable them embark on commercial fish production, Siyanbola appealed to the government to shift from its cosmetic and elitist policies but go back to the drawing board to work out strategies to attract prospective young farmers to involve in fishing business.

“The Federal Government should make it a policy for financial institution to provide soft loans and grants to young Nigerians to enable them embark on commercial fish production.

“The Nigerian government approach to fish culture is at best cosmetic and elitist. The Federal Government must go to the drawing board to work out strategies to attract young Nigerians into the fish farming subsector as one pragmatic panacea to the disturbing menace of youth unemployment which constitutes grave threat to our national security which can be seen from the involvement of younger citizens in crimes of kidnapping for ransom payment, terrorism, pipelines vandalism and other organized crimes.

“The Federal Government should organize regular training for potential fish farmers especially in the rural areas where the resources for aquaculture production are available.

“Private, investors should be encouraged to partake in the running of government owned ponds ans reservoirs in form of Public, Private Partnership (PPP)”, she submitted.

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Similarly, the Scholar suggests among others the need to checkmate piracy so as to make fish culture subsector beneficial to the national economy, regular capacity building and training/workshops for extension officers in Aquaculture at both Federal, state and local levels, introduction of Aqua-Entreprenureship as one of the vocations in entrepreneurship education curriculum among others.

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