Artisanal fishermen in Nigeria have raised the alarm over the unregulated influx of foreigners into Nigerian fishing shelf using unwholesome practices that threaten the future survival of the aquatic creatures.
Speaking at a policy outreach organised by the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC), University of Nigerian, Nsukka, at Valencia Hotel, Abuja, the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Fishermen and Sea Food Dealers, Badagry, Mr Ashade Moses, noted fishermen from China were taken advantage of a loose regulation of fishing in Nigeria to do what they were forbidden to do in their own country.
He explained that industrial fishermen from China fish below the five nautical miles approved for them by the Sea Fisheries Act of 1992, and maltreat artisanal fishermen in the process.
Asked if he would support the regulation of artisanal fishing in Nigeria, Mr. Ashade said there was no need for such regulations, as Nigerian government does not give incentives to fishermen compared to what is obtainable in other African countries.
He, however, said there was a need to stop invasion of foreigners into artisanal fishing territory.
George Effiong Eshiet from the Ministry of Agriculture, Akwa Ibom, corroborating Ashade’s narrative, said fishermen from Ghana had taken over artisanal fishing shelf in Akwa Ibom and they were not subjected to any form of regulation.
He further observed that foreigners have more sophisticated instrument than the locals and that they had grown so bold that they use some compromised security operatives to harass any folk who called to question the suitability of their equipment in the lower shelf.
The discussion was provoked by a research paper entitled: “Performance of Marine Artisanal Fisheries in Nigeria: Lessons from Fisheries Performance Indicator” presented by Dr Ebele Amaechina on behalf of REPRC.