Lagos — Nigeria’s fish exports to European Union, EU, countries and other countries around the world dropped by 6.5 percent in 2018 as the total export for last year recorded N14.4billion ($47.1million) as against N15.4billion ($50.4million) in 2017).
Statistics from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that fish export to EU countries recorded a total of N12.6billion in 2018 against N13.1billion in 2017, showing a 3.8 percent decline.
According to the data, the total worth of fish export to non-EU countries recorded a total of N1.8billion in 2018 against N2.2billion in 2017, a huge 18.2 percent drop.
A breakdown of the statistics also shows that the drop in value was occasioned by drops in the volume of the commodity exported during the period to EU and non-EU countries.
While the quantity of fish export was put at 3.7million metric tonnes for 2018, as against 3.9million metric tonnes in 2017, export to EU countries was recorded as 3.5million in 2018 as against 3.6 million metric tonnes in 2017.
While 247.848 metric tonnes was recorded in 2018 as fish exported to Non-EU countries, 308,064 metric tonnes was in 2017.
Data from the fisheries department also showed that a total of 41 different species of fishes were exported in the period under review.
It was also gathered that Shrimps and Shellfish were the most exported aquatic products from Nigeria.
Some of the exported species of fishes included lobster, crabs, snail, croaker, sole and Barracuda.
Others are Moonfish, Eel Fish, Ray, Ribbon fish, Stake fish, Shark, Octopus, Bonga fish, Tuna, Mullet, Spade, and Mackerel fish.
Commenting on the development, the Head of the Lagos office, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Aduke Kupolati, said that the demand of customs abroad could have been responsible for the decline recorded last year.
Kupolati also said that most Nigeria fish exporters sell their products based on request adding that global prices of these products could also affect the demand.
She also disclosed that Nigeria was yet to start exporting cultured marine products as only wild aquatic products are currently being exported.
She explained that for the government to sustain its marine and its aquatic materials, the department re-stock the rivers with various species of marine animals.
She disclosed that Rotherham is where most Nigerian fish exporters send exports to, for onward distribution to other parts of Europe like France and perhaps to the United States.
Although Kupolati could not give projected income from fish export for 2019, she, however, said that it is only the exporters and operators in the fishery sector that could give such projection based on whatever trade agreements they have with their clients abroad.
Efforts to get comments from the leadership of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association, NITOA, was futile as the members of the Board of the group were in a meeting when our Maritime Report visited the office.