Godfrey Ezeri, professor of Fish Pathology and Health at the College of Environmental Resources Management at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), has disclosed that the passage of the Bill, which was sponsored in 2008, at the Senate by Abubakar Gada, senator representing Sokoto East Senatorial District at that time, would bridge the deficit gap, reports BusinessDay.
He says the Bill is expected to increase fish production and create aquaculture-based jobs for many Nigerians.
Delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Fish Diseases: A Major Hindrance to Realisation of Fish for All’ at the FUNNAB 44th inaugural lecture, the professor says the level of fish production in the country was very far below consumption and could be corrected through effective fish health management.
Mr Ezeri, who solicited the inclusion of the Fish Health Management Programme (FHMP) as important component of National Fisheries Commission Bill with a location in the various state’s Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs), says the involvement of stakeholders such as the fisheries department in the ministries of agriculture, veterinary departments, universities and research institutes is also important to achieve massive and effective production.
While explaining further, he says with FHMP in place, there would be better monitoring of eggs and fish stocks imported into the country, to ensure that they are certified properly for human consumption, adding that the Bill would also ensure formal registration of fish farms, cold rooms and strengthening of networking opportunities among policy management and research outputs in universities, research institutes and extension workers.
He, however, lauds the Federal Government for ensuring that “farmers at the grassroots got about 500 juveniles and five bags of floating feeds each under its Aquaculture Scheme,” but warns against the infiltration of pollutants and use of harmful chemicals to harvest fish, saying the use of such chemicals could jeopardise sustainable and improved fish production method.