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Nigeria, world’s largest importer of stock fish – Norwegian Council

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By Godwin Oritse reporting from Lofoten, Norway

The Norwegian Seafood Council, NSC, has said that Nigeria imports more cod (stock) fish than any other country in the world.

Speaking to Vanguard  Maritime Report last week in Lofoten, a fish processing island in Norway, NSC’s director in charge of West and Central  Africa, Mr. Trond Kostveit, however, said that Nigerian importers take more of the head of the item (okporoko) than any other part of the fish while more of the valuable parts go to Italy and other parts of the world.

Trond who spoke at the codfish conference in Lofoten, also said that more Nigerian importers are leaving Iceland for Norway because of the quality of the Norwegian species.

Speaking on the development, Mr Jonas Walsoe, a processor of stockfish, said that the Italian cod fish market is quite specialized just as the quality is.

Walsoe explained that there are twenty-eight different qualities of stockfish of various taste for different cities in Italy. He further explained that the preference for taste and quality is the reason why more value than volume goes to both Italy and Nigeria.

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Also speaking on this, an importer, Mr Ikechi Charles Anurukem, gave a reason for a high volume of stockfish heads saying that “the heads are meant for the poor that cannot afford the body that the rich buys.”

Anurukem explained that more Nigerians have resorted to purchasing of the stockfish head because of the economic downturn in Nigeria and he, therefore, appealed to the government to review the import duty rate on stockfish particularly the codfish heads in the interest of the poor.

From document obtained at the conference by Vanguard Maritime Report, there are seven different types of stockfish with different nutritional values. Some of them are dehydrated stockfish, stockfish ling, stockfish tusk, stockfish saith, stockfish haddock, stockfish cod, and lutefisk.

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