Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) has train youths on aquaculture value chains targeting small scale fish farmers with focus on post harvest and fish waste reduction and value addition, to boast local fish production in the country.
The Executive Director/ Chief Executives Officer ED/CEO, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Dr. Gbola Akande, disclosed this in Lagos, while speaking at a workshop on Aquaculture Production and Fish Processing for unemployed Graduate Youths and Women.
Akande, who was represented by the Director (Aquaculture), Dr. Patricia Ayanwu, said, aquaculture represents about thirty percent of total local fish production and currently above 350,000 metric tonnes per annum (Mt/pa), is capable of giving people better standard of living.
He further said, “The workshop is timely especially as there is urgent need in Nigeria now to promote the non-oil sector for revenue generation through post harvest reduction and adding value to the fish.”
“Our goal is to be self sufficient in Fish production, which can be met by engaging youths and women in the value chain of the agriculture sub-sector in a more sustainable manner for increased fish production and better standard living.
“To this end, sustainable aquaculture systems must be in place to kick start the mass production of farmed fish, the trainees after the programe will be empowered with starter pack to start their own fish processing business.” He explained.
Meanwhile, the representative of the ED, Dr Patricia Ayanwu, noted that as an institute that conducts marine research and cannot enforce compliance of any erring project found capable of causing harm to the aquatic environment, this she said in line with the growing wave of dredging activities happening along coastal areas in the country.
According to her, “We are not regulatory agency, we do our research and take it out to the regulating agencies, as we are related to Nigerian Marine Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF), Ministry of Environment as some of our scientists are working closely with them to deliver the reports, hoping they will enact policy that can deal with the issues” She explained.
On his part, Assistant Director, Dr. Benjamin Ebonwu, encourage host communities to get involved in EIA process, as fish may avoid areas where dredging activities are been done, affecting their livelihood, “there must be harmony between the private sector and the government to create proper awareness whenever this report are been carried out.”