By DAPO OLAWUNI
Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos to discuss issues affecting fishing and fisheries as well as the country’s ocean resources at the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM), scheduled for April 13 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island.
Convener of the meeting and Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, on Thursday, said there was need for Federal Government to secure and harness the advantages of the nation’s ocean resources.
She stressed that illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing that occurs in the country‘s waterways needed to be checked, in addition to securing the ocean resources.
“The competition facing the Nigerian fishermen in the fishing industry in Nigeria is enormous. One is that industrial fishing organisations from different continents come to take advantage of our oceans.
“It requires us to be alert, our security apparatus needs to be alive and alert to make sure that our oceans and its resources are protected.
“It is important for government to know that there is need to educate and train its people, to be able to take advantage of the ocean resources.
“And so, we need for the Ministry of Agriculture, the minister in charge of fishing, to work with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and security forces to protect our oceans,” she said.
She noted that it was important to ensure the use of technology to address some of the challenges confronting the fishing industry such as catching fish, storage and preservation.
She also said that effective storage of fishes makes it readily available for sale at any point in time.
“Technology will ensure our fishes move out of the country but unfortunately, many of our fishermen are artisanal and we need to move from artisanal to industrial fishing.
“In doing this, requires training, involvement of government, push and support from them. It also requires collaboration with other countries.
“The fishermen are already in associations. What needs to be done is to bring technology to that association and support them,” she said.
According to her, the aim of the MBRBM is to bring users and suppliers of Nigerian maritime and aquacultural services together to share ideas and explore opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy.
She listed some notable personalities for the roundtable including Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA, Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Benedette Okonkwo, President, Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) and many others.
The benefits of the meeting are: visibility, growth, networking, impartation and exchange of knowledge and solutions.