Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NITOA Laments Depletion of Fishing Trawlers Due to Illegal Fishing

The Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA) has decried impact of unregulated and unreported fishing, lamenting that the illegal activities is threatening Nigeria’s blue economy prospects, leading to depletion of fishing trawlers in the country.

The Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA) has decried impact of unregulated and unreported fishing, lamenting that the illegal activities is threatening Nigeria’s blue economy prospects, leading to depletion of fishing trawlers in the country.

The President NITOA, Mrs Benedette Okonkwo made this known at the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM) on fishing and fisheries, held at Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., Lagos, while calling on the government to introduce initiatives that would boost the fishing industry.

Trawling is a method of fishing that involves actively dragging or pulling a trawl through the water behind one or more trawlers. Trawls are fishing nets that are pulled along the bottom of the sea or in midwater at a specified depth.

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Okonkwo disclosed the association had a combined fleet of over 250 vessels and over 20 fishing companies, bemoaning that the number of vessels had drastically reduced to 150 vessels with about five presently struggling to survive.

The Vice-President of Fisheries Society of Nigeria, Dr Olalekan Oguntade, noted that there should be a NEEDS assessment of the industry, while stressing for the need to protect the artisanal fishing industry which is where most riverine communities operate.

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In her welcome remarks, the Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, pointed out that local demand for fish outweighs the supply in Nigeria, despite the availability of vast coastline with immeasurable fish resources which ordinarily should transform the economy if properly harnessed.

“The records show that there has been a steady decline in local catch and production of fish in Nigeria. This means that there is constant demand for fish and fish products which should keep the local fishing industry buoyant but the reality on ground tell a different story”.

“In the 1970’s, domestic production of fish was said to range from 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes. By 1983 this dropped to 538,000 tonnes in 2000, local catch was 441,337 tonnes and today the figure is not encouraging,” she said.

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