Maritime stakeholders advocate harnessing potential of blue economy
By Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
Stakeholders in the Maritime sector are advocating for proper harnessing of the potential of the blue economy in order to develop the nation’s coastline for further opportunities.
It also called for a robust fishery management system as well as collaborations and support for fishers in the country, so as to improve their livelihoods.
The Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, NIOMR, Dr. Sule Abiodun was part of the stakeholders meeting in Lagos where experts brainstormed on challenges facing the fisheries industry and how to chart a way forward.
Abiodun explained that the aim of the meeting was to replicate what the francophone members are doing, saying that the Nigerian coast, which is about 860 kilometers and about 462 nautical miles, lies the blue economy of the nation.
While speaking on the need to provide adequate security for fishermen, especially the artisanal and the commercials who supply 90 percent and 10 percent of the nations demand, he noted that there is need to train and retrain the fishermen so as for them to compete with the reality of things across the globe.
According to him “If you look at our coast line, there is no type of fish that you cannot find in Nigeria. And that is why we are looking at fishery governance itself and fishery management system. We need to look at the policy in place because of the so many vessels visiting and harvesting in Nigeria”.
He however urged the Federal Government to continue to empower the Nigerian Navy in the area of surveillance, provision of modern equipment and daily overflying, adding that bringing all stakeholders together, data collections, information sharing are also important in making the industry a profitable one.
Representative of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Gideon Kachim, said the Navy is ready to participate as a strong stakeholders in performing its statutory duties to allow fisheries thrive on water and protect them from any form of illegalities across the ocean.
Founder Nigeria Women in Agricultural Research for Development, Professor Stella William, also pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was to begin a dialogue on how to impact on the lives and livelihood of fishers, especially the small scale ones known as artisanal fishers.