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Researcher suggests ways to sustainable fish farming, Africa’s blue economy

By Femi Ibirogba, Head, Agro-Economy
21 July 2022   |   4:02 am
To maximise local fish production, its economic advantages and nutritional benefits, research and technological innovations in aquaculture and fisheries management practices will be required for accelerated fish production in this decade and the next.

• Recommends constant review of fisheries curriculum, best practices

To maximise local fish production, its economic advantages and nutritional benefits, research and technological innovations in aquaculture and fisheries management practices will be required for accelerated fish production in this decade and the next.

This is part of submissions by Professor Augustine Eyiwunmi Falaye, a former Head of Department, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Management and Dean, Students, University of Ibadan, during his valedictory and 70th birthday lecture at the university, recently.

Falaye said considering the levels of fish production, models for sustainable fisheries and aquatic resources management are required for the regeneration of fish stocks, ecosystems and efficient aquaculture systems.

“To ensure growth in aquaculture and fisheries production,” he explained, “a holistic approach to sustainability of this valuable commodity, the following strategies should be adopted for ecological, economic and social benefits.”

Hence, he said, well-planned policies involving participation of stakeholders should be implemented and integrated across sectors of water, agriculture, forestry and coastal zone management.

Again, Falaye said there should be alternative resource utilisation, livelihood diversification, flexible access rights, public and private sources for rational exploitation and fish production through aquaculture practices.

While delivering the lecture, with the theme, ‘Jewels in The Blue Economy, Capacity Building in Aquaculture, Fish Nutrition and Environmental Management,’ he also recommended that development of multi-species culture should be encouraged in fish farming to reduce the tendency of mono-species culture mainly of the African catfish in Nigeria.

To reduce cost of production, maximise profitability by farmers and ensure affordability by consumers, he advocated development of feeds from local nonconventional feedstuffs to replace expensive imported fish feeds.

“There should be capacity building in aquaculture and fisheries sub-sector, including training and development of guidelines, tools and approaches to enhance efficiency of fish production.

“And strengthening of partnerships, collaboration and programmes coordination at local, regional and global levels for aquaculture and fisheries development.”

He also harped on best practices in environmental management regulated by the Ministry of Environment in Nigeria, including environmental management plans.

Monitoring, control and surveillance of Nigeria’s territorial waters, he emphasised, should be done constantly to protect the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and aquatic resources from over exploitation and degradation as Taiwan and Chinese fishermen allegedly exploit the resources illegally.

“Research, as well as application of existing findings for sustainable production of more fish, has become greatly desirable, and academic curricula for teaching and training fisheries personnel should be constantly reviewed to address needs and gaps in fish production practices,” Falaye advised.

The blue economy concept, he explained, is predicated on creation of institutional and sectorial linkages; giving prominent social considerations, including gender, youth, food and water security, poverty alleviation, wealth and job creation.

He added that African Union had identified blue ocean economy development as a means to prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development within the context of the African Union Agenda 2063.

The thematic areas for developing the blue print for Africa’s blue economy, he said, include fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and sustainable aquatic ecosystems, shipping / transportation, trade, ports, maritime security, safety and enforcement, coastal and maritime tourism, climate change resilience, environment and infrastructure.

“For four decades, my contributions to scholarship have been in three distinct areas of aquaculture, fish nutrition and sustainable fisheries/environmental development, all within the context of the blue economy.

“I have, therefore, made imprints in controlled fisheries production giving adequate attention to sustainable development of the aquatic environment,” Falaye said.

Commenting, the Head of Department, Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Ibadan, Prof. Jenyo-Oni described Falaye as a man of excellence, peace, and distinguished scholar who had trained many professors and other scholars.