Fishery stakeholders have called for the registration and certification of all local fishery products for export or import.
The stakeholders made the call in Lagos at the end of a four-day aquaculture capacity workshop organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council to boost local aquaculture exports.
The call among other recommendations by the stakeholders is contained in a communiqué signed by all participants at the workshop.
The stakeholders include officers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Department of Fisheries, Nigeria and Norwegian Customs, Norwegian Seafood Council, National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Fish farmers, processors and exporters.
The recommendations to the Federal Government assert that the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is the competent authority for the certification of all fishery products for import and export purposes.
They said that the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in collaboration with the states would register all fish farms across the nation for export, inspection, data collection, planning and record purposes.
The stakeholders also noted that the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in collaboration with the states should categorise registered fish farms according to scale of operations – micro, small, and medium, large.
According to the communiqué, relevant authorities should grant Investors along the fisheries and aquaculture value chain some leverage on tax to enable them set up their bill boards/signposts for a comprehensive statistical fish investments database.
They demanded for the delisting of stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not approved for forex by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The stakeholders also harped on the need to hasten the completion and perfection of the Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan for approval to enable export of farmed fish into the EU and other countries.
They suggested the continuous enlightenment of fish farms on available financing windows such as the CBN Grants for fish farms and how to access them.
They also recommended a functional website for stakeholders to access information on current requirements for fisheries and aquaculture value chain by the Federal Department of Fisheries.
They called on all stakeholders in the sector to imbibe best aquaculture management practices in the operational activities for processed Nigerian farmed fish products to access local and international markets.
The stakeholders also stressed the need to practice established biosecurity measures in all fish farms.
The Norwegian Seafood council was also urged to assist the Nigerian Fisheries Laboratory to be upgraded with the latest technology and competence training in line with modern practices.
They also demanded for the assistance in Mariculture development in the country, Stock Assessment of Nigerian Marine Resources and facilitating the completion and approval of the Nigeria Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan.