Fish is essentially nutritious. It provides 22% of protein intake with over 50% in the poorest countries where animal protein is expensive and scarce (FAO, 2003).
- The consumption of fish is highly recommended because it is a good source of high quality protein, minerals and vitamins.
- The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fresh fish protect consumers against coronary heart disease, reducing arrhythmias and thrombosis and risk of fatal heart attack and sudden death and lowers plasma triglyceride levels.
- Fish intake is beneficial to children’s growth and development and protects against some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psychiatric disorders and lung disease (Rahman et al., 2008).
- Fish is also an indispensable source of micronutrients such as iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A and B (World Fish Centre, 2005).
The demand for fish in Nigeria is much higher than the local production. This has made Nigeria to become one of the largest importers of fish in the developing world with about 2 million metric tons imported annually. We barely have about 1.4 million metric tons produced via both culture and capture. However, there has been an argument on the health safety of the frozen captured fishes imported into the country. For example, the frozen mackerel (Scomber scombrus) sold in some parts of the country has been reported to contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel above the recommended safety limits outlined by FAO/WHO (Abubakar et al., 2015). Owing to this, as well as to develop local production of fishes, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017 promised to stop the importation of fishes into the country and shut down cold rooms where imported frozen fish are stored (RipplesNigeria, 2017). According to the then Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, “The smuggling of unhealthy frozen fish into the country is detrimental to the progress being made toward guaranteeing the good health and nutrition of Nigerians”.
At the implementation of the government’s policy on the ban of imported frozen fishes, there will be a drastic shortfall in the fish supply to Nigerian citizens. Thus, the local fish farmers will become the main supplier of fish for national consumption. In order to sustain the supply of healthy and consumable fish to the Nigerian market and increase personal income, there is the need for an increased citizen participation in aquaculture and fish farming. Therefore, Aquatic Hub Afrique Network aims to bridge the gap existing in the supply of fish to Nigerian consumers. At Aquatic Hub Afrique Network, our Academy is focused on:
- Liberating Africa from the shackles of poverty and hunger through capacity building in aquaculture.
- Training people on basics of sustainable aquaculture and fish farming.
- Providing technical training to fish farmers on the basics of fish farming, consumer awareness, sustainable fish feed production, breeding disease-resistant and fast growing fingerlings, fish processing, packaging and marketing among others.
We offer all these with the best in-class training facilities, curriculum as well as entrepreneurial and risk management insight to aquaculture as well as hands-on farm practical training. Our projection is to make Nigeria the largest exporter of fresh cultured fishes in Africa and a reference point in aquaculture and fish production throughout the world.
Citations and further readings
Abubakar, A., Uzairu, A., Ekwumemgbo, P.A. and Okunola, O.J. (2015). Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Imported Frozen Fish Scomber scombrus Species Sold in Nigeria: A Case Study in Zaria Metropolis. Advances in Toxicology, Article ID 303245, 11 pp. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/303245
FAO (2003). FAO Data 2003, Available on: http://faostat.fao.org/faostat/collections. Accessed April 2003.
Rahman, M.M., Bhattacharya, A., Fernandes, G. 2008. Docosahexaenoic acid is more potent inhibitor of osteoclast differentiation in RAW 264.7 cells than eicosapentaenoic acid. J. Cell Physiol. 214: 201-209.
RipplesNigeria (2017). FG to seal cold rooms with imported frozen fish. https://www.ripplesnigeria.com/fg-seal-cold-rooms-imported-frozen-fish/
World Fish Centre (2005). Fish for All: Turning point for Aquaculture and Fisheries in Africa, 28(3 and 4):14 – 20.