Major fish importers in the country have heeded the Federal Government’s directive to engage in backward integration of fishing through commercial aquaculture and production of fish for export, the Deputy Director of Fisheries, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Pwaspo Emmanuel, has said.
He spoke on Thursday on behalf of the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the ministry, Mallam Muazu Mohammed, at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council sensitisation forum for processed fish practitioners held in Lagos.
He listed Atlantic Shrimpers, Premium Aquaculture and Triton Aqua Africa as some of the companies going into backward integration in aquaculture.
“These fish farmers and others that are duly certified can now export their fish and fish products,” he said.
He said, in addition, letters of assurance had been given to investors intending to go into deep sea fishing and exploitation of tuna and others for export.
He said, “Nigeria is blessed with a lot of tuna resources. So, investors who want to key into the Federal Government’s policies on aquaculture can come to the Federal Department of Fisheries and pick up letters of assurance to go into deep sea fishing and exploitation.
In his keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr Segun Awolowo, stated that the demand for dried/processed fish by Nigerians and Africans abroad was high and driven by the crave for local meals and valuable sources of protein .
Awolowo, who was represented by the Director, Product Department, NEPC, William Ezeagu, said that in Nigeria, the challenge encountered in the quest to export smoked/dried fish had been the inappropriate smoking method adopted by the local processors using firewood, resulting in high occurrence of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon in the final product, said to be carcinogenic.
He said, “Poor quality of packaging is also another challenge. This results in reject and restriction of smoked fish product from Nigeria particularly to the European Union and the United States of America.
“These challenges can be addressed by adopting appropriate smoking and packaging processes.”
Awolowo said that the council as part of its product development was embarking on the sensitisation in collaboration with the Federal Department of Fisheries to assist in addressing the US concerns about the exportation of fishery products from Nigeria due to non-submission of certain documentary requirements.
“We also intend to address the appropriate method of smoking fish for the international market through compliance and adherence to international best practices,” he said.