By Godwin Oritse
THE Federal Government has commenced moves to register and categorise all fish farms across Nigeria with a view to encouraging export, inspection, data collection and record purpose.
Vanguard Maritime Report learnt that the Federal Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture in collaboration with the States will carry out the exercise in the next few weeks.
This development was disclosed at the end of a capacity building training for fisheries officers and stakeholders involved in fish farming, processing and export recently.
Meanwhile, at the training that was organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council, participants urged the Federal Department of fishery to hasten the completion and perfection of the Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan for approval to enable export of farmed fish into the EU and other countries.
The Federal Government was also called to delist Stockfish/Stockfish Heads from the list of items not approved for forex sourcing from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
It was also agreed that an increased collaboration and synergy between relevant agencies and stakeholders in the fisheries industry was needed to grow the sector just as continuous enlightenment of fish farmers on available financing windows such as the CBN grants for fish farms and how to access them.
Parts of the Communiqué at the end of the training reads: “Federal Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture as the Competent Authority, should have a dedicated and functional website for Stakeholders to access information on current requirements for Fisheries and Aquaculture Value Chain such as list of banned substances, Role of Competent Authority, working contact numbers, email addresses, etc.
“The website should be linked to the Trade Portal of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigerian Customs Service and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), etc.
“The Federal Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture should reactivate the quarterly stakeholders’ meetings to cover all the States review the Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy.”
It was also recommended to imbibe best aquaculture management Practices in the Operational activities for processed Nigerian farmed fish products to access Local and International Markets.
“To practice established Biosecurity Measures in all fish farms,
Investors along the Fisheries and Aquaculture Value Chain should avail themselves of opportunities available from the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions for Grants, low-interest loans, 8-Year Tax Holiday, among others.
Commercial Investors in Fisheries and Aquaculture to dedicate a percentage of their annual profit to assist in funding Research as it is done in Norway.”