Fish has both economic and nutritional importance to man and society. It is a veritable source of livelihood for many in rural communities especially. It can be said that the fisheries sector is one avenue that if well furnished, can be used to alleviate poverty in the grassroots. On a larger scale, fisheries contribute to the GDP of many nations. Yet issues that challenge this sector are most times overlooked. The exploitative and environmental degrading activities of the extractive industry have debilitating impact on the productivity of fishers. The COVID-19 pandemic that has lingered added to the challenges that confront fishers.
This publication brings to the frontline, issues that beg for attention in the fisheries sector.
Chapter one of this publication, titled COVID-19 and Fisheries, highlights how the pandemic has affected the fisheries subsector. The chapter shows that COVID-19 for a period significantly reduced demand and supply of fish by as much as 82% and decreased its price by as much as 36%. It also showed that the pandemic reduced fisheries employment by as much as 64% and negatively impacted on the economies of its workforce but did not adversely impact on captive fisheries stock as it did on aquaculture. It recommended among other things that measures such as supporting most vulnerable fisheries workers, protecting fish culture and maintenance of fisheries operations be taken in a post-pandemic era.
Chapter two, titled Dead Fish is not Manna, captures the peculiarities and challenges of fisheries in Nigeria noting the contaminated state of some of the fishes sold in the country’s markets. It raises our consciousness concerning careless consumption of imported fish products. The article draws attention to the exploitative fishing activities of industrial trawler fisheries and foreign fleets in Nigeria and other maritime nations in West African- leading to price hike of fish and increased importation of cheaper fish products. It calls for better knowledge management to explain the importance of the ocean to policy makers and the multiple stakeholders in the fisheries sector- as task that can be facilitated by NGOs.
In the appendices at the end of the publication ‘Floating Dead Fish across the Niger Delta Coastline – A Call for Thorough Investigation’ is a call for action made by FishNet Alliance, Health of Mother Earth Foundation and Oilwatch Africa. It was a statement issued in response to speculations on the cause of the dead fish incidence that occurred along the Niger Delta coastline between February and May 2020. The second appendix is another statement issued after the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) issued a statement conveying the outcome of their study of the dead fish situation. Titled ‘Environmentalists Reject NOSDRA’s Report on Dead Fish along Niger Delta Coastlines’ it focused on the deficiencies in NOSDRA’s report and asked for further investigations to bring a closure to the saga.
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