Leadership (Abuja)

11 January 2013

Nigeria: Flood Increases Fish Content in Rivers, Lakes - Union

The 2012 flood has increased the fish content in rivers and lakes to the benefit of fishermen in the country.

Mr Anthony Ashagye, the President of the Nigerian Union of Fishermen and Seafood Dealers (NUFAS), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

Ashagye said that although the flood did a lot of havoc to both lives and property, it increased the quantity of fish in the water.

"The flood brought fish from other countries and almost all our rivers (river Benue, river Niger) almost every lake is filled with fish."

NAN recalls that the some parts of the country were ravaged by flood in 2012. According to Ashagye, the increase, if not properly managed, will waste because of the absence of a law that can guide against illegal fishing and the use of dangerous methods and materials.

He said that using chemicals to catch fish does not only contaminate the fish but also causes havoc to the eco-system

"We don't have existing fishing law in this country; the law we are using is as far back as how many years; it's not reviewed.

"You discover people are using chemicals, dangerous substances, military men use explosives. "By the time they apply these, it destroys not only fish, but the ecosystem and lives as well.

"Obnoxious fishing is fishing with dangerous chemicals, dangerous inputs, sometimes undersized meshes, construction of barriers in streams so that they will only be harvesting all the fish and it will be meant for their family alone.

"Sometimes they get the fish and then waste it because there will be no market for it and because there is no law guiding fishing."

He noted that traditional rulers around the fishing areas had tried severally to stop obnoxious fishing but their efforts proved abortive because they did not get the desired support from the Federal Government.

He said that if those who practiced illegal fishing were arrested and prosecuted, a lot would be achieved. Ashagye said that the union would everything possible to safeguard and maximize the increase in fish content.

NAN also reports that NUFAS is the apex body for all fishermen and seafood dealers with active members in fish farming, processing, preservation and marketing.

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