Education

UNN VC seeks review of Sea Fisheries Act to boost production

Speaking at the workshop, The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof Charles Igwe, has advocated the review of the Sea Fisheries Act 1992, saying the Act which was last reviewed 30 years ago should be updated immediately in order to adequately address the challenges in the sector and increase fish production in the country.

He, however, listed some of the challenges in the sector to include declining fish stock due to over-harvesting, over-fishing and rising cases of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

 

This is as key stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture sector agreed to forward a draft proposal for the review of the Sea Fisheries Act of 1992 to the National Assembly for consideration.

The Vice Chancellor disclosed this during the two-day workshop, organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaborations with the Resource and Environmental Policy Centre of the University of Nigeria; Environment for Development (REPRCEfD) Nigeria, and the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association, which was held in Lagos between November 15 and 16, 2022, where the proposed review document was produced. Igwe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof Johnson Urama, also stated that the sector was grappling with the challenges of Vessels Management System (VMS), Blue Economy,

Mammals Protection, new fines regime, fishing seasons, determination of total allowable catch, and regulation of artisanal fishermen.

 

The Vice-Chancellor in statistics cited indicated that the total fish consumption in Nigeria is about 3.2 million Metric Tons, with 1.2 million MT local productions, thereby leaving a deficit of two million MT, which is augmented through import.

However, Igwe expressed the belief that review of the Act would improve local productions, especially contributions from aquaculture, saying: “There is a need to introduce reforms on feeds and the production of highyielding aquaculture species.”

On his part, the Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ime Umoh, noted that the current Act is obsolete and should be updated to meet global best practices in the sector.

He, however, said that the document produced at the workshop had already articulated the positions of various groups in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and promised to set-up a committee to check the technical details in the review document before the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development forwards it to the National Assembly

Also, the Director of EfD Nigeria, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, urged the ministry to expedite action in sending the document to the National Assembly. He expressed optimism that the process of reviewing the Act could be completed before the expiration of the tenure of the Ninth National Assembly in 2023

 

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