The House of Representatives has revealed that annually, Nigeria loses a whopping sum of 70 million (USD) to Chinese and other European Trawlers due to illegal fishing activities in the nations waters as observed by the Nigerian
Navy in 2017.
The House also resolved to bring to an end incidence of illegal fishing activities by foreign vessels on Nigeria’s territorial waters.
Meanwhile , the House at its plenary session on Wednesday mandated its committee on Agriculture and Services to investigate the matter and report back to it within 3 weeks.
The resolutions also urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nigerian Navy and the
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to put measures in place to curb illegal fishing activities on Nigeria’s waters.
The House also urged the Federal Government to review its licensing policy that tends to favour foreign
trawlers at the expense of their local counterparts and encourage indigenous investments into this agricultural sector.
While also calling on the Federal Government to prevail on the Gulf of Guinea Commission to urgently
introduce a legally binding framework to check excessive fishing or overfishing in the Region
These were contained in a motion on notice brought by Hon. Patrick Ifon, who
noted that “fish is one of the healthiest food on the planet as it contains nutrients such as vitamin D that is a great source of Omega–3, Folic Acid which is important for body and brain development, thereby contributing about 40% of the country’s protein intake”.
“Nigeria as a nation with large coastal area is rich in marine species, yet over half of the fish being consumed are imported from China and Netherland, thus placing Nigeria’s production of fish at 759.828 metric tons annually, according to the Report of the World Fish Centre in 2017;
“Nigeria is the 4th largest importer of fish in the world with about 2 million metric tons per annum for an estimated population of over 200 million people,” he said.
The lawmaker expressed worries that despite Nigeria non-fishing agreement and arrangements with distant nations such as China and the European Union, illegal fishing on Nigeria’s waters persists due to bilateral agreements with the nearby Country of Sao Tome and Principe.
He noted concerns raised by the Overseas Development Institute’s Report of 2018 that “illegal fishing boats from
China, Netherlands and Spain operating in the Country’s territorial waters commonly transfer catches
from their trawlers into container and cargo vessels on the high seas, thereby flouting quota regulations”.
“The Gulf of Guinea Commission which was established in 2001 to check issues
bordering on fisheries beyond 20 nautical miles of each member nation is yet to come up with a legally binding framework to tackle illegal fishing activities
“Illegal and unregulated fishing in Nigeria’s waters undermines the economy, poses a security threat to the nation’s territorial waters, degrades the coastal communities and renders artisan fishermen redundant”, the lawmaker cautioned.