Building national fisheries’ capacities –

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A healthy fishery will go a long way in feeding a growing population, if well managed. This was the submission of participants at the just-concluded 33rd Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) in Lagos. DANIEL ESSIET writes.

If current population trend continues, experts estimate the world will need to double food production by 2050, and fish, according to them, will come to the rescue.

According to experts, the nation will need to take measures to address the challenges of the industry if it is expected to play critical role in meeting food consumption targets. This was the position at just concluded 33rd Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) in Lagos.

In 2016, fisheries yielded 171 million tonnes of fish for consumption. By 2030, that number is expected to reach 201 million tonnes. But Nigeria’s fish demand stands at three million metric tonnes (mmt) while production has been at about 1.1mmt. This has become a great concern and challenge, leaving  two mmt gap to meet fish demand and consumption.

The conference tagged: “Ìtèsíwájú Èkó 2018”, had the theme: “Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nigeria: A Panacea for Economic Development and Self Sufficiency in Food Production”.

FISON promotes the professional practice of all categories of stakeholders involved in aquaculture, capture fisheries and post-harvest management subsector of operation, as well as fisheries research and development in Nigeria.

Experts pushed for aquaculture as Nigeria could run out of “exploitable fish stocks” for commercial fishing.

The experts and scientists recommended expansion of sustainable aquaculture to help reduce pressures on natural fish stock.

In this regard, Lagos Governor Akinwumi Ambode said the state has made tremendous strides to make the state a hub for fisheries and aquaculture.

Speaking through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwola Onasanya, the governor said the Ministry of Agriculture has  introduced improved culture technologies for increased fisheries development, while considering the environment and practicing a climate smart agriculture.

The immediate past National President, Dr. Olajide Ayinla, called on all fisheries practitioners to be duly registered with FISON as the law making it a chartered body is in its advance stage.

The Conference also held the Biennial General Election where Dr. Ayinla was succeeded by Dr. Agbabiaka Adegoke to steer FISON affairs for the next two years.

Meanwhile, on World Fisheries day, the society pledged to make fisheries and aquaculture production sustainable by working with other relevant bodies to ensure that all practitioners are treated fairly and with decency in the pursuit of their legitimate livelihood.

The society also called upon Federal Government to support the fight against trafficking and forced labour within the fishing sector by ratifying the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) “Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188)”. The Convention is meant to protect and promote decent work and living conditions on board fishing vessels, large and small, including their right to organise; right of freedom of association; right to freedom from forced labour and child labour; right against all forms of discrimination and rights to occupational safety and health and social security.

According to the society, the adoption of the Convention will help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Number 8, which aims at promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. FISON further urged  President Muhammadu Buhari  to sign into law the Fisheries Institute Nigeria Bill 2018, recently passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly.

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