A total of 37 fisheries unions, under the auspices of Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Nigeria Limited (FCFNL), on Thursday, stormed Abuja in protest against multiple taxation on fish commodity and the negative effects on the fisheries sub-sector of the country.
They lamented the effects of growing insecurity in forms of militancy, sea piracy, youth restiveness and unregulated fishing in maritime states, as well as the insurgency in Lake Chad region on fishing activities.
Speaking at the maiden annual general meeting of the federation, its president, Anthony Ashagye raised the alarm that the conflict between farmers and grazers had hindered fishing activities in the southern zone of Taraba State.
He expressed regrets that despite the nation’s vast fisheries and aquaculture resource base, yet it remains the highest fish importer in Africa, with an estimated 950 metric tonnes of imported frozen fish valued at over N100 billion annually.
According to him, the collapse of the industrial fishery sub-sector has resulted in loss of over 100, 000 jobs, saying it had cost the country over $50 million in foreign exchange derivable from export of high-value sea food.
Ashagye said it was sad that the critical sub-sector of the economy remained bedeviled with a wide range of limiting factors, which he said, included inadequate infrastructure, lack of access to affordable credit facilities by investors, policy inconsistency, failure of development and intervention programmes, as well as inadequate insurance cover.
The president said it would not be a crime if government set aside N1 billion as credit facility to fisheries and aquaculture cooperative organisations for the next five years, and to provide pond construction equipment, fishing towers, motorised fishing boats, outboard engines, fish feed milling machinery, cold rooms and improved fish broods and seed to the fish farmers.