Rapid increase in domestic production has reduced Nigerian fish deficit to 800,000 tonnes valued at N570billion ($1.2billion).
In the past, the country had a deficit of two million tonnes before it declined by 66.6 per cent following its achievement of 1.2 million tonnes domestic production.
According to WorldFish, Nigeria currently produces just over one million metric tons of fish, leaving a deficit of over 800,000 metric tonnes, which is imported annually. It added that increase in fish production in Nigeria accounted for 55 per cent of the increase of its apparent total fish consumption, making Nigeria to become the highest producer of aquaculture in sub-Sahara Africa.
Notwithstanding the import restriction, findings by New Telegraph from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position revealed that 11 vessels were currently jostling for berthing space at Lagos Port terminals C and D with 43,632. 2tonnes of fish. The imports are valued at N31.08billion ($65.4million) as price of pelagic fish reached $1,500 per metric tonne.
The country’s major suppliers are Norway, Chile, Albania and United States.
Expected at the terminal are Green Cooler laden with3,200tonnes of fish; Green Chile, 5,500tonnes; Coppename, 3,293.74tonnes; Coppename, 3,293tonnes; Frio Las Palmas, 5,745.041tonnes and Green Seije, 4,200tonnes.
Others are Sierra Lara, 3,850 tonnes; Alma, 3,200.512tonnes; Green Ocean, 4,000tonnes; Lagoon Phoenix, 3,150tonnes and Green Dodo, 4,200 tonnes. In 2020, importation of frozen mackerel reached N128.8billion ($280million) or 40 per cent of the total annual $700million fish imports into the country.
According to the United States Department of Trade (USDT), imports into the country were dominated by essention tially fresh, chilled and frozen mackerel accounted for 40 per cent. In October alone, NPA’s shipping data revealed that eight vessels offloaded 24,813.95 tonnes of fish at the Lagos Port complex.
At terminals C and D of the port, Green Honduras discharged 2,743.95tonnes; Yun Der, 4500tonnes; Prince Of Sea, 4,200tonnes; Green Costa Rica; 4,200tonnes; Boyang Capella, 4,200tonnes; Green Klipper, 4,000tonnes; Green Crystal, 3,850tonnes and Don Reefer, 1,320tonnes.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sabo Nanono, had said in Abuja at the 35th Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) that over 12 million Nigerians were actively engaged in primary and fish production, saying that contribution of fisheries to the national Gross Domestic Products was about 4.5 per cent.
He explained that the ministry was pursuing a holistic approach to the development of the fisheries subsector through the diversification programme along the value chain process.
Nanono said: “The ministry has developed various programmes to increase domestic food/fish production and the main target is the empowerment of the youth and other groups especially the women.”
The minister, who was represented by the Director of Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr. Imeh Umoh, said that fishery was one of the value chains in the ministry, adding that it was the driving force for wealth and job creation, contribution to food and nutrition security, poverty reduction as well as the creation of