World fish day: Pollution, sand filling major challenge of Nigeria Artisanal Fishers – Stakeholders

As the government put plans in place to generate over $10 billion in the Nigeria Blue Economy space, stakeholders in the environment and agricultural sector in Nigeria has called on policy makers to put artisanal fishers in the country into proper consideration.

This is even as they revealed that sand-filling of traditional fishing grounds like the one being experienced by the Makoko people in Lagos State, oil and gas exploration and exploitation as well as their associated infrastructure decay have proven to be some of the worst challenges Nigeria artisanal fishers are faced with.

The Stakeholders in a statement signed by FishNet Alliance, Media/Communication Lead, Miss Kome Odhomor, on Tuesday, to mark this year 2023 World Fish Day, small-scale fishers’ economic are being destroyed by oil and gas pollution.

The Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Nnimmo, said this year World Fisheries Day offers a
good opportunity for the government to have a change of heart and solve the problem of constant pollution destroying fisher’s livelihood.

Bassey also emphasized that the government must learn to work with
coastal communities for better environmental management.

Stephen Oduware, the Coordinator of FishNet Alliance, noted that
communities like Kono in Ogoniland, who have used local and cultural
means to preserve a mangrove area, need to be recognized, promoted, and
supported.

He said that policymakers must bring artisanal fishers to the
policy table to make contributions that will further strengthen maritime
policies.

it should be noted that Nigeria has a coastline of about 853km with Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, while Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River as littoral states. 28 out of the 36 states in Nigeria are navigable by the connecting inland waters that stretches about 10,000km, encircling whole communities in some cases and in other cases, linking one community to another.

But coastal areas in Nigeria over the years face various challenges, such as coastal erosion, flooding, over exploitation of fish and other aquatic
resources, marine and coastal pollution, mangrove depletion, and nipa
palm invasion.

Stakeholder pointed out that a sector as important as this, which
meets the animal protein needs of millions of Africans, deserves to be
recognized and supported.

And that the World Fisheries Day should be a time for
reflection on the key issues affecting fisheries, particularly the
artisanal and small-scale fisheries.

For a government that professes emphasis on the so-called blue economy, this atrocious negligence suggests that government is ready to sacrifice our environment and the communities that depend off natural resources.