Project #FishAndOceans is an agriculture and journalism project that investigated on ocean resource conservation, and the health and economic effects of Nigeria’s over-reliance on fish importation. The project was funded and supported by the Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and was implemented between 3rd January and 30th April 2018.
Project investigations were conducted to understand the following;
- To determine the socioeconomic and health implications of Nigeria’s long-term reliance on fish importation
- To investigate and discuss the conservation state and productivity of major ocean and water resources in Nigeria.
- To discuss the opportunities and importance of a sustainable and thriving local fish industry that can meet consumer demands in Nigeria.
Project activities included collating and analyzing relevant data from peer-reviewed research and international organizations; organizing interviews with subject-matter experts and local fish and aquaculture workers; and writing and publishing the project article. Investigations focused on the ocean/riverine and fishing-intensive locations in Nigeria – particularly Lagos/Oyo states and Bayelsa/Rivers States in the south-west and south-south regions respectively.
To implement, interviews were conducted with local fish farmers and other local aquaculture associations and cooperatives in the above-named states, professionals at the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, Department of Fisheries at the University of Ibadan, and officials of the State Ministry of Agriculture in Lagos. Additionally, we collated and analyzed relevant research data on fish production and oceans – particularly in Nigeria and West Africa. These data was from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and EJN respectively.
Our investigations explored and answered the following inquiries and more;
- What is the estimate of Nigeria’s fish-consuming population?
- How much of Nigeria’s local production meets consumer demands?
- What is the estimated quantity and finances expended on fish importation yearly?
- What are the health implications of imported fish especially with regards to long-term storage and the use of chemical preservatives?
- What are the factors causing limited aquaculture and scarcity of mass fish production in Nigeria?
- What is the extent of damage to our current natural ocean and water resources and why is (sustainable) commercial fishing non-existent in Nigeria?
- What are the benefits of conservation and maintenance of ocean and water resources to Nigeria?
- Can Nigeria still build a sustainable local aquaculture industry? What are the opportunities and gains of this? What does it take does it take to build and develop a sustainable aquaculture industry in Nigeria?
The project publication can be found on the following online platforms;
International Center for Investigative Journalism (ICIR) Nigeria
Earth Journalism Network (EJN)