Â The Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development has expressed dissatisfaction on activities of trawler owners in the country’s territorial water, alleging that most of their operations are not transparent while at sea.
The ministry appealed to trawler owners to be accountable in their operations as part of effort in engaging government for effective fishing activities.
Speaking at a monthly forum organised by Journalists under the auspices of Nigerian Association of Agriculture Journalists (NAAJ) held in Lagos recently, the Senior Special Adviser on media to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Kayode Oyeleye said that it would be difficult for government to assist trawler owners in anyway, when it is obvious that their operations are not transparent towards economic growth.
Oyeleye said: “Basically issues affecting trawler operations is not peculiar to Nigeria alone but we are aware that there are illegal operations going on in our territorial water.
“Those of them who are doing things right need to come forward, form a strong front and engage the government so that government can also help them.”
Oyeleye alleged that many of the trawlers operating in Nigerian maritime space do not declare their actual catches at sea and government is aware of the practice, thus would be seen as economy sabotage.
He noted that some of the crew aboard such vessels is in the habit of selling their catches at sea; and later go back to their respective organisations to say hunting had been low.
According to him, the trawler owners would have played a key role in the agriculture sub sector but their attitude has discouraged the government to do more in the area of assistance and incentives.
He called on trawler owners and their crew to be transparent in their operation for government to show interest in the nature of their operations adding that the fishing sub sector can generate huge revenue only if the operators are honest with the catches at sea.
Oyeleye added that pirate attacks on trawlers within the maritime space are not the major problemÂ affecting their operations alleging that some of their businesses at sea were under shady deal conditions.