The Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, Dr. Sampson Umoh said Federal Government has targeted 3.6 Million Tons of Fisheries annually to boost local production, income generation amongst others.
The Director made this known during the Second Dialogue and Sensitization Meeting on Fisheries Governance Project 2 (FishGov2) with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) held at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, recently.
He said that the Fisheries and Aquaculture subsector was very significant to the Nigerian economy in terms of employment creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials for the animal feed industry.
Dr. Umoh informed that it was estimated that over 10 million Nigerians were actively engaged in primary and secondary Fisheries operations, thus creating wealth and increase production.
In his words “Nigeria‘s total demand for Fish is 3.6 Million tons annually while we are producing 1.1 Million tons from all sources (Artisanal, Aquaculture and Industrial sectors) leaving a deficit of about 2.5 Million tons, the Ministry is working hard in collaboration with the private sector to enhance local production in order to reduce imports’’.
Dr. Umoh stressed that ‘’Federal Government is encouraging backward integration through commercial aquaculture production (pond and cage culture) for local consumption and export, adding that it will yield positive results”.
He, therefore, stated that it was gratifying to note the measures the Federal Government had introduced to drive the Fisheries subsector, which includes; establishment of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in Lagos and Abuja to monitor and control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing along Nigeria Continental Shelf, Fish storage processing and Marketing amongst others.
The Director, further revealed that all these programmes are tailored towards prevention of youth restiveness, food and nutrition security, adding that the recommendations from the workshop would help to improve governance mechanism for maximum productivity.
Earlier, the Acting Director, African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU- IBAR), Dr. Nick Nwankpa stated that the Fisheries Governance Project 2 meeting would appraise and update the RECs on current status and progress of projects implementation as part of an established mechanism for regular dialogue on emerging issues of the FishGov2 as well as exchange of information for synergies and complementary between the continental intervention and regional priorities with regard to Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
In his remarks, the European Union Representative, Eulade Mboneye pointed out that “this second dialogue offers a good opportunity to ensure that the RECs have a common understanding of the FishGov project objectives and outcomes, share experiences as well as understand their contribution towards successful implementation’’.
He, therefore, pledged the continuous support of the EU towards the governance of Fisheries and Aquaculture subsector.