Nigeria Can Achieve Better Health for Citizens, Save $1 Billion through Aquaculture
- FUTA DON
The preventive and curative properties inherent in fish and the many advantages of its production and
consumption have been highlighted by a don at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA.
Delivering the 105th Inaugural lecture of the University, Professor of Fish Breeding and Aquaculture,
Olabode Adebayo said appropriate fish consumption helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and
reduced incidence of heart disease in adults. He also said proven studies indicate that fish consumption
could ameliorate stroke and mental illnesses including depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
and dementia. Adebayo who spoke on the topic “Aquaculture: A Catalyst for Sustainable Fish Production”
said fish has numerous amino acids that are indispensable for human health. He said for the many benefits
of fish consumption to be possible Nigeria must develop aquaculture policy to support sustainable fish
production. The Don said the advantages accruable to Nigeria from the development of aquaculture can
help Nigeria save over USD 1.1 billion spent on fish importation annually.
Speaking on the economic value of fish breeding Adebayo stated that aquaculture is the most sustainable,
renewable, affordable and feasible option for self-sufficiency in fish production with great potentials of
catalyzing production of large qualities of fish without negative environmental effects on natural water
bodies. The lecturer said fish production can be made available during off-seasons by regulating cropping
from aquafarmers, thus ensuring a steady supply. He defined aquaculture as the captive farming of aquatic
organisms in a controlled environment for many economic, social and health benefit, adding that
aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of the world food economy. He said fish has the richest available
source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which is very significant in human diets for a wide range
of critical functions such as visual and cognitive human development, particularly throughout the first
1000 days of a child’s life.
Citing the constraint of perishability, Professor Adebayo said the commonest method of preserving fish
by fish aquaculturist and the most available form of fish products for consumption in Nigeria is by
smoking. He added that smoked aquafish is found in all markets and is a delicacy in Nigeria dishes. To
improve the aquaculture production and preservation in Nigeria, Adebayo said government at all levels
should promote and support research in aquaculture geared towards sustainable fish production. He said
there should be collaboration among universities, fisheries and aquaculture Research Institutes, the
Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and that the stake holders must work together in an all
inclusive way with the interactions being facilitated and coordinated by the Federal Department of
Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Adebayo however highlighted the common constraints against yielding the full optimal result from
aquaculture farming to include over dependence on Artenia nauplii, a brand of feed favoured by catfish
breeders, which is costly and scarce in supply. According to Professor Adebayo he said feed is the most
expensive input in fish production and due to the high cost of fish feed, fish farmers embark on restricted
feeding/starvation of fish stocks to reduce cost of production and this eventually have grave consequences
for the growth, survival, carcass composition, morphological measurements and the economic
performance of highbred catfish. According to Professor Adebayo the government should establish
aquaculture development funds to finance aquaculture investments and encourage lending institutions to
finance investment in aquaculture. He said government should put in place regulatory agenda as well as
a well-defined and enabling aquaculture policies strategies and plans such as guaranteed rights to land and
water usage and a ban on fish importation to encourage aquafarmers and investors.
In his remarks the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice
Chancellor, Academic, Professor Olatunde Arayela commended the lecturer on the delivery of the
lecture describing the topic as very interesting and highly educative one. He described Adebayo has a
promising academic who has carved a niche for himself in his chosen career.