In a bid to address the challenges bedeviling the Aquaculture Sub Sector, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) has launched the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy for Nigeria (NAAHS) 2023-2027, to enhance effective delivery of robust Aquatic Animal Health Services and improve Production, Processing and Marketing in the Aquaculture Sub Sector.

Speaking during the event that took place at the Sandralia Hotel Abuja recently, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dr. Ime Umoh said that the implementation of NAAHS would minimize the negative impacts of aquatic pathogens, protect the health of human population and boost the resilience of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the country.

He added that the Plan would promote international trade of aquatic animal species such as aquaculture fish, shrimps, and water snails among others.

Dr. Umakhihe stated that the development of a comprehensive aquatic animal health strategic plan would address some of these challenges in the aquaculture sector and provide roadmap for improved and safe fishery production as well as productivity in Nigeria.

In his words, “the launch marks a significant milestone in nation’s commitment to the well-being of our aquatic ecosystems, the prosperity of our aquatic industry and exploration of the great potentials of the industry towards food and nutritional security’’.

The Permanent Secretary lauded the efforts of Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services and its Developmental Partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization – Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (FAO-ECTAD), African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), ECOWAS-Regional Animal Health Centre (ECOWAS-RAHC), World Health Organization (WHO) for spearheading the development and validation of the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy Plan.

He urged the relevant stakeholders to embrace the strategy, support and actively participate in its implementation, in order to harness the potentials of aquatic resources for common good of all Nigerians.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria/Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr Columba Vakuru said that the Strategy would fast-track Research and Innovation in Aquatic Animal Health, encourage Investment in Innovative Research to develop new Diagnostic Tools, Vaccines and Treatments for Aquatic Diseases.

He revealed that Diseases affecting aquatic animals could have severe consequences for our food and nutritional security, economy, public health, and the delicate balance of our aquatic ecosystems.

He added that ‘’ by prioritizing the health of our aquatic animals, we are safeguarding our economy, protecting public health, and preserving our natural heritage for future generations’’.

Speaking on the Overview of the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy (NAAHS), Staff of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Dr Gbolahan Oladosu revealed that NAAHS consisted of Fifteen Programmes with Twenty Nine Associated Projects and Activities that would be implemented over a period of five years (2023-2027).

He added that the Implementation Plan would be revised and renewed at the end of the third year 2025.New Programmes and Projects could be added based on the Progress made through completion of Projects.

He further revealed that NAAHS would contain the National Action Plans for short, medium and long term phased implementation based on national priorities.

Highlight of the event was the official launch of National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy in Nigeria (2023-2027)

In attendance were Members of Aquatic Veterinarians Forum, National Fish Association of Nigeria, Premium Aquaculture among others.

Ezeaja Ikemefuna
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For: Director Information (FMAFS)