The Nigeria Government granted 164 vessels permission to operate in territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone which would help boost the Nigerian fish value chain.
Mr Ime Umoh, Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Fisheries Department, stated this at the ‘Second Dialogue with Regional Economic Communities (RECS) implementation of Fisheries Governance Project phase 2 (FISHGOV-2)’ on Monday in Abuja.
The African Union Development Agency, AUDA-NEPAD, and the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources, AU-IBAR, are co-hosting the three-day conversation, which is supported by the European Union, EU.
Umoh stated that this was one of the Department’s achievements in its work, claiming that local output had been boosted.
“For the artisanal, we assist them with training, inputs, and lake enhancement, in which we remove fingerlings to supplement some water bodies that are deficient in fish.”
Because of the flood we had in 2020, we generally build fish farm estates, where we establish it for youths and women, and also provide them with feed in partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
“We are currently intervening in 15 states, providing fish feeds, fingerlings, nets, and canoes, and this is what is happening in Nigeria. We install the Vessel Monitoring System, or VMS, on the industrial side, but not on the artisanal side.
“When we install the technology in the vessels, we collaborate with the Navy and other security authorities so that we can monitor what they’re doing: the sort of fish they’re bringing in, the vessels they’re using, and the equipment they’re bringing into the country.”
They can use the vessels for smuggling and other illegal activities, for example. “We have to prevent all of these from being used for other obnoxious activities,” he said.
Additionally, the African Union Development Agency’s (AUDANEPAD) Chief Executive Officer, Nardos Thomas, was represented by the Acting Head of Food Security Unit/AUDA-NEPAD FishGov-2 Project Coordinator, Cheikh N’dongo, who stated that the FISHGOV project was funded with three million dollars to assist member states.
The goal of the debate, he added, was to raise awareness among Africans about what players were doing to improve the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in support of Africa’s social and economic transformation.
“We’ve come to support our member states and regional communities in the work that needs to be done on the continent in terms of fisheries and aquaculture,” he said.
Ms Panduleni Elago, the African Union Commission’s (AUC) spokesperson, pledged that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) would encourage artisanal and small-scale fish farmers to fill the gap in Nigeria’s fish demand.
Fish, according to CAADP Advisor Elago, is one of the healthiest and cheapest proteins for humans.
“Fish is one of the healthiest and cheapest proteins for humans, and as we work to end hunger in Africa by 2025, we want to support all individuals involved in the fisheries industry, including small-scale farmers, non-state actors, and civil society organizations,” she said.