A university teacher, Dr Nene Jamabo, has disclosed that Nigeria spends about N125.38 billion on importation of fish annually, and that the Federal Government in 2013 provided a total of 3.6 million juviniles, 36,000 bags of 15kg of Feed and water testing kits worth N1.5 billion to fishermen in 10 states, with 18,500 fishermen benefitting in 14 states from the flood recovery programme, excluding Rivers State of the Federal Government.
Jamabo, who disclosed this in a paper titled “The Fish Industry, a Perfect substitute for the Oil Industry (Artisanal Refining) in Revenue and Employment Generation”, at a one-day summit organized by the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN) in Port Harcourt recently, noted that the total fish demand in the country is 2.7 million metric tons, while 800,000 is being produced with a deficit of 1.9 million metric tons met by imports.
She further revealed that a total of 271 cases of attacks on fishing vessels operating in the Nigerian territorial waters were recorded between 2009 and 2013.
While noting that the socio-economic impact was huge, he said it has led to a drastic reduction in the number of fishing fleet from about 230 to 119 vessels, with only ten companies operating in recent years.
Jamabo, who is of the Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Port Harcourt, said the fisheries sector is important and contributes 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). According to her, that the country’s goal was to be self-sufficient in fish production, hence the Federal Governments decision to ban fish importation, a feat “that could be achieved by promoting greater investments in aquaculture, improving artisanal, inland and marine fisheries”.