The Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) on Wednesday said that there was the need to properly engage the private sector, to attain food sufficiency and aquaculture sustainability.
This is contained in a communique reached after the society’s National Fisheries Conference held recently, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The communique read in part: “Opportunities abound in Nigeria for operators in fisheries and aquaculture industry; and so, off-takers and producers need to know each other.
“The annual fish demand in Nigeria is 3.5 million metric tonnes, while annual production from all sources (artisan, culture and industrial) is 1.1 million metric tonnes, thus, leaving a yawning gap of 2.4 million metric tonnes.
“That is made up for, through import, and also to meet with the annual demand and ensure food security.
“The fisheries and aquaculture industries must be owned and run by private practitioners, while government should provide an enabling environment,’’ Mr John Babatunde, the Acting Director, Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (FDFA),” said.
The stakeholders at the forum also called for continuous training, workshops and collaboration between government and non-state actors, for the growth of the industry.
Dr Lukman Agbabiaka, National President of FISON, noted that there should be product diversity in aquaculture, “that is moving away from catfish production to other culturable species like Labeo Spp’’.
According to the document, “There is the need to shift from tonnage value using the Iceland approach; that is, not producing fish only for the table, as other products can be got from fish.
“Research in fisheries and aquaculture should be demand-driven. In the light of this, industries are enjoined to fund and support research.
“There should be mapping of fish farms; processors and others across the country and also certification of farms and fish products is imperative to be able to export as well as gain the confidence of consumers,” Agbabiaka said.
According to him, for sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture industry, there is need for the unification of stakeholders and non-state actors for publication, advocacy, knowledge sharing and good means of information dissemination.
NAN reports that the National Fisheries Conference hosted by the society was in collaboration with the Federal Department of Fisheries with the theme: “Harnessing the Potential of Non-States Actors in Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in West Africa”. (NAN)