By Benjamin Omoike
Stakeholders in the Maritime Sector have called for collaboration and support for fishermen and the fishing industry in the country, so as to improve their livelihood and also harness the potential and opportunity of the blue economy.
Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Doctor Sule Abiodun Yussuf, made this known at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, to brainstorm on challenges facing the fisheries Industry and how to chart a way forward.
Doctor Sule said that the aim of the meeting is to really replicate what their francophone members are doing, saying that the Nigerian coast, which is 860 kilometers and about 462 nautical miles, belies the blue economy of the nation.
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 nations demand respectively, Doctor Sule noted that there’s need to train and retrain the fishermen so as for them to compete with the reality of things across the globe.
He, however, 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 are also important in making the industry a profitable one..
In his words, “the purpose of this meeting is to really replicate what the francophone members are doing, our coast is very bigger than 6 of the its nations, and if you look at our coast territorial wise, it is 860 kilometers and that’s about 462 nautical miles, and that’s where our blue economy lies.
Under it (the blue economy) you won’t be surprise that we have crude we have gas and we have fish, and today we’re discussing fish, there’s no type of fish that you won’t get in Nigeria.
There’s 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 per cent.
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.
He said that bringing all the agencies together in terms of data collection, information sharing is which are very important, infact government should empower the Nigerian Navy more, area surveillance, 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, Commodore Gideon Kachim, said the Navy is ready to participate as a strong stakeholders in performing its statutory duties to allow fisheries thrive on water and protect them from any form of illegalities across the ocean.
Founder Nigeria Women in Agricultural Research for Development, Professor Stella William, said 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.
Correspondent Kamaldeen Mustapha reports that other 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.