By Patience Danjuma
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of monitoring vessels to reduce unregulated fishing and boost security on the waterways.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this at the 10th Annual Ministrial Conference of the Fisheries Committee for West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), held Friday in Abuja.
He said safety of the nation’s waterways remained a key priority to the current administration.
The Vice President restated Federal Government determination to reducing fish imports into the country, saying the efforts are already yielding significant results.
Osinbajo said within 2017, local fish production increased from 450,000 metric tons from early January to 1.1 million metric tons.
“The safety of Nigeria maritime is also a principal concern to us. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of some patrol vessels for the department of fishery which would be managed with the collaboration of the Nigerian Navy. These vessels will boost the research and rescue capacities of the relevant security agencies, deter illegal fishing and help secure our vessels at sea.
“In the north east of Nigeria where Boko Haram has devastated the fishery industry which supplies most of the West African states; earlier this year, President Buhari approved establishment of Lake Chad Naval Base to boost security and fastrack the restoration of the livelihood in that zone.
“The theme of this conference, which is to invest in the growth and sustainability of fishery in West Africa, is important even in term of sharing the experience and lay aspiration for the economic wellbeing of our people. Our effort to reduce fish import and increase local fish production by encouraging the private sectors to invest in the aquaculture is yielding positive result. Domestic fish production for example, in the last two years, has increased from 450,000 metric tons to 1.1 million metric tons, and we hope this growth will be exponential,” he added.