The Federal Government has been urged to improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure, value chain investments, and encourage private sector investment to increase the availability and quality of sea fish.
At the Workshop on Review of National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policies for Coherence /Alignment with the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, held at the Federal Department of Fisheries, Lagos, stakeholders also threw their weight behind reforms in fisheries policies and regulations.
The National Consultant, African Union Inter Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Deaconess Foluke Omotayo Areola, said the fisheries sector is a major driver for growth, noting that the marine and coastal fisheries have significant potential for sustainable and higher production.
The essence of convening the review workshop, according to her, was to ensure the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policies and Strategies of African Member States are coherent or aligned with the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, and other relevant international instruments.
Other specific objectives and activities that have been carried out, she added, included, making Nigeria Fisheries Policy efficient in managing and conserving the sector’s resources to the benefit of the people.
“Two survey questionnaires, which served to monitor the alignment of National and Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Policies with the PFRS for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa and to survey the implementation of the PFRS for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa with reference to Nigeria, have been completed and submitted to AU-IBAR.
“The surveys were completed with the active participation of the Federal Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture.”
She believed the completed questionnaires for Nigeria and other African Union Member States could form baselines on which the successes of the National Policies would be measured in subsequent years.
“This would be in a similar manner to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Member Country questionnaires, for monitoring the implementation of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCFR) that are completed annually by countries.”
Stakeholders recommended promotion of research-based policy that will lead to development of indigenous ornamental fishery, updating national data on fisheries and encouraging artisanal fishers to collaborate and form cooperatives.