Girl-Child Day: Experts urge girls to embrace fisheries, aquaculture

By Chiazo Ogbolu

Experts in fisheries and aquaculture on Thursday urged the girl-child to carve a niche in the field both academically and business wise.

They made this call at an event organised by the Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) to celebrate the 2022 International Day of the Girl-Child in Lagos.

The theme for the 2022 International Day of the Girl-Child is entitled: ”What is Fisheries and Acquaculture? Is it a career for the Girl-Child?”

Mrs Funmi Shelika, President, AWFishnet, Nigeria, said in carving a niche for fisheries and aquaculture the girls needed to research to know their strength and area to focus.

Shelika listed some of the areas to focus as producers, processors, marketers, feed millers and sellers.

“Fisheries and aquaculture is a career for a girl-child both academics and business wise, the only issue is for them to know their interest, research and get a mentor in that line.

“Leveraging on technology, business management training are very important to help them succeed,” she said.

Shelika said Nigeria had the largest number of people producing fish but the major problem was not just to produce the fish but doing it right so that it would be fit for consumption.

Group picture of the Olaitan Williams with the secondary school girls on board the boat
Group picture of the Olaitan Williams with the secondary school girls on board the boat

Shelika, also, President, African Women Fish Processors and Traders Network, said the network ensure that the processing arm of fishery was done the right way.

Mr Emmanuel Audu, Director of Fisheries, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), said that the fisheries sector contributed significantly to the national economy

Audu said, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, fisheries contributed about 3.24 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in quarter one 2021 and artisanal fisheries sub-sector employing about three million people.

“Some of the investment opportunities in fisheries and aquaculture are breeding of fingerlings, production of table sized fish, processing and packaging of fish for local and export market and others.

“For industrial fisheries investment opportunities are: fish brokering, processing, marketing, boat building, trawler ownership and others,” he said.

Audu said there were agencies providing support to people that waned to go into the sector, adding that the girls should consider them.

He listed some career opportunities in the sector as fish scientist, seamanship, fish farm/hatchery manager and environmental specialist/consultants among others.

Also, Mr Benjamin Ebonwu, a fishery expert, said economy of any nation depended on the ocean, adding that girls had better opportunity due to their ability to buy and prepare the fishes.

According to him, there are vast opportunity for everyone to tap into.

Ebonmwu said that Nigeria had 200 nautical miles where fishing could take place, adding that, unfortunately few Nigerians had trawlers.

Mrs Ezinne Azunna, another fishery expert, said that fisheries and aquaculture should be part of secondary school curriculum so that it would make it visible at an early stage.

Mrs Olaitan Williams, Convener of OAF, during an excursion with the girls at the LTT Coastal and Marine Services Ltd., urged them to utilise the opportunity they were getting.

According to her, what their school cannot give them is what Ocean Ambassadors is giving them, to have a path in the maritime industry to excel.

“I want all of you to listen. If you look at 2030 economy, it is your age that will enjoy it but you need to have an idea what the blue economy is all about.

“Blue economy is all about seafaring, logistics in shipping and many other things that has to do with the ocean and also do try to key into this,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the girls have an opportunity to board a tug boat where they are tutored by a female captain on how to man a boat. (NAN)

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