THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Abubakar, has hinted that the Federal Government is set to establish a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in Lagos and Abuja to monitor and control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing along Nigeria’s continental shelf.
Abubakar, stated this during the closing ceremony of the Internal Coordination Meeting of Implementation of Fisheries Governance Project Phase 2 (FisheriesGov 2).
The minister noted that an estimated 10 million Nigerians were actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations, adding that the Nigerian government was encouraging backward integration through commercial aquaculture development to boost local production.
The initiative, he pointed out, would further increase the country’s annual fish production and reduce the 2.5 million metric tons annual importation of fish in the country.
Abubakar informed that Nigeria’s total demand for fish stood at 3.6 million tons annually while producing 1.1 million tons from all sources (Artisanal, Aquaculture, and Industrial sectors) leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million tons.
According to him, the Federal Government has set measures to enable the fisheries sub sector gain the desired prominence. These measures, the minister stressed, included: “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 project to increase shelf life keeping quality and curtail post-harvest losses of fish and fishery products.
“Establishment of fish farm clusters to increase fish production and engage the teeming youths and women as well as lake-enhancement project to increase fish production for sustainable livelihood development of the fisher folks,” he noted. Abubakar said the programmes were tailored towards job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, arrest and prevention of youth restiveness and food nutrition security, among others.