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Unless the issue of environmental pollution and other factors troubling waters are addressed, Nigeria’s plan of providing sufficient fish, to stop reliance on importation will become a mirage. 

This was part of the findings of eminent hatchery management, aquatic pollution and toxicology expert, Prof. Bamidele Omitoyin who delivered the 440th and 14th in the series of inaugural lectures for the 2017/2018 academic session on behalf of Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Ibadan (UI).

Delivering the lecture titled: “Calming Nigeria’s Troubled Waters: Hope For Sustainable Fish Production,” Omitoyin identified oil spillage, discharges from industries and domestic wastes from boundaries settlements and other activities along the tributaries and watersheds as threats to aquatic lives. 

While noting that Nigeria’s water is troubled, he said its impact is undermining productivity and impacts negatively on food security through fish production.

He said other critical threats, are conditioned by climate change, flooding, intense human activities: such as indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture; urbanisation; dam, road and bridge construction; irrigation; sand mining; filling of wetlands; population growth and mismanagement of natural aquatic resource.

The don also emphasised that gas flaring in the Niger Delta region, with carbon dioxide (Co2) emission of about 35m tons per year contributes to the increasing occurrence of acid rain in the region.

He said: “consequences of Nigeria’s troubled waters include death of aquatic animals, including fin and shell fishes, disruption in food chain due to disappearance of vulnerable species leading to death and extinction, tainting of the fish by unpleasant odours and tastes caused by petroleum derivatives, destruction of fragile ecosystem due to water pollution and siltation resulting from erosion or dumping of refuse into waterways.”

The renewable natural resources expert explained “Nigeria is a maritime state with rich networks of inland water bodies.

The inland waters are among the most extensive with rich and diverse aquatic resources in Africa and the world.

As a maritime state, Nigeria is endowed with rich and diverse marine ecosystems.

The country’s 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) spans 853km of coastline and covers 192,000 km² in area very rich in fisheries resources. Notable finfish stocks in Nigerian coastal waters include the bonga, thread fins, tilapia, tunas, and tuna-like fishes among others.

The potential fish yield in freshwater are a function of interacting abiotic and biotic factors.”

He said, “Fisheries resources are renewable if managed scientifically.

On the other hand, when abused, they are delicate and can become extinct.

Harnessing these resources from Nigeria waters for the ultimate goal of national development, especially in food security is hampered by the present state of Nigerian waters which is greatly troubled by an interplay of human induced activities.”

The lecturer from the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, highlighted some innovative research efforts, he has used to calm Nigeria’s troubled waters for sustainable fish production.

He said his research efforts with his colleagues led to the development of sustainable integrated aquaculture system with a concept of ‘zero waste’ for food security in West and Central African.

This has put the University of Ibadan on a global map through the multi donor research grant of $1m coordinated by West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) won in 2011 in collaboration with two other Universities in West and Central Africa.

The project, Omitoyin,”successfully achieved its focus of 100 per cent waste utilisation through the production of maggot larvae, fish oil, fish meal, and mineral rich organic manure.

All the wastes generated from the process of integration are now utilised in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.

“Over 45 farmers have benefitted from these efforts.

The capacity of 2,800 farmers, 19 research scientists, 5,000 youths and 22 postgraduate students were enhanced, out of which 40 per cent were females.

10 technologies/innovations were developed and disseminated and the adoption level is over 60 per cent.

This has improved the facilities used for teaching and research by 20 per cent in the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Ibadan.”


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