About Fisheries and Aquaculture
The Nigerian Federal Fisheries Service was established in the early forties by the British colonial government. The vision then was fisheries research for extension and development activities for which it had two centres – one at Victoria Island –Lagos State, Malamfatori -Borno State and the other at Buguma in (Rivers State). In 1976, the research oriented Department was split into two to form the current Federal Department of Fisheries for development activities and the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) for Marine Fisheries Research.
Evolution of the Nigerian Fisheries
From early times, there had been a semblance of fisheries organization and administration in Nigeria which was community based and did not operate under any written statute. The modern organization and administration of Nigeria fisheries started in 1942, as an exigency of the World War II – during which there was worldwide protein hunger. Among all the agricultural sub-sectors, Fisheries was the last to be organized. The reason is not far- fetched because during any period of food scarcity and hunger, there is always a tendency to carter solely for the carbon component of food before thinking of the nitrogen component. However, Fisheries when it was even established, only existed as a fisheries development branch in the then Agricultural Department in the colonial office, and its development was entirely a regional affair, with little power at the Federal level. In 1967, at the creation of twelve states from the existing regions, Fisheries was given more attention by various states. In 1969 there arose the need for effective coordination among the states in respect of Fisheries Development Programs. This led to the creation of the division of planning within the Federal Department of Agriculture to among other things;
(i) Develop the national fisheries plan.
(ii) Development Data Bank for investors in fisheries.
(iii) Train the Manpower required for the development of the fishing industry.
As a Consequence of (III) above, the Federal Fisheries School was established in the same 1969 in Lagos.
Establishment of Department of Fisheries.
In 1975, the Federal Military Government of Nigeria promulgated the “Decree on the Research Institutes Establishment Order” for the creation of 22 Research Institutes out of which 14 were agricultural based. Among these, the Federal Fisheries Services was later split into two namely,
- Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research(NIOMR), charged with fisheries research;
- Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF), charged with fisheries development.
Two additional fisheries research institutes were created as follow:
- Lake Chad Research Institute, based in Maiduguri, Borno State
- Kanji Lake Research Institute, located in New Bussa, Niger State.
Over the years these research institutes and the fisheries training schools have fulfilled their mandate of providing middle-level manpower for fisheries development and also conducting relevant research in the marine/fresh waters including lakes lagoons and indeed all water bodies in Nigeria geared towards the overall fisheries development of Nigeria.