The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on Wednesday said fisheries and aquaculture play a significant role in Africa’s economy, food security and nutrition.
Dr Bernice McLean, a Senior Programme Officer for Fisheries, NEPAD, made the assertion at a stakeholders’ workshop on the Pre-Assessment of the Semi-Industrial Shrimp Fishery in Lagos.
“Fisheries and aquaculture played a significant role in Africa’s economy, food security and nutrition,’’ McLean said.
She said that the important contribution of fisheries resources to continental transformation as part of the Blue Economy was recognised in the very first aspiration of Agenda 2063.
The agenda is entitled: “The Africa We Want’’.
“This envisions a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
“While the opportunities offered by the rich aquatic resources of the continent are large, there remain significant challenges.
“Trade in fisheries products is challenged by a lack of infrastructure and harmonised policy, legal and institutional frameworks,’’ she said.
The NEPAD senior programme officer said that strong certification procedures, standards and regulations need to be well-embedded in the national and regional policy framework to boost trade.
According to McLean, only consistent implementation of policies over the long term will ensure that fish is contributing to poverty reduction and food security.
Also, Mr Pwaspo Emmanuel, the Deputy Director of Fisheries, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the ministry placed priority on fisheries and aquaculture to meet the protein requirement of Nigerians.
“This is achieved through the development of Nigeria’s fisheries toward self-sufficiency in fish food production, efficient and sustainable conservation.
“Currently, fisheries and aquaculture are being practised in Nigeria in line with the international best practice.
“Various programmes have been designed by the government which is targeted at achieving these objectives.
“Recently, Nigeria was re-certified for Turtle Excluder Device (TED) compliance and export of shrimp to the European Union market and U.S,’’ he said.
The deputy director said that Nigeria’s demand for fish was 3.2 million tonnes annually.
“Currently, Nigeria is producing 1.1 million tonnes from all sources, leaving a deficit of about 2.1 million tonnes to be supplemented by importation,’’ he said.
The projects of the workshop are: “Strengthening Institutional Capacity to Improve the Governance of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector in Africa; Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty Through Intra-Regional Fish Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa.’’