Real reasons Nigeria needs fishing terminals to grow fishing business–Orakwusi
Barrister Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi is Chief Executive Officer of Morbod Group. She is a former President of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association and presently the Chairperson of the Ship Owners Forum in Nigeria. She has remained vocal, speaking on issues of importance to indigenous shipowners. Here, she speaks on reasons why Nigeria needs to establish and revitalise abandoned fishing terminals in order to promote fishing trade, which can ultimately support daily required protein intake as well as serve as source of income for thousands of households.
Fishing terminal is very important to any nation that is lucky enough to have what we have; the seas, and involve in fishing.
That is the only way you grow fishing. What are the functions of a fishing terminal? A fishing terminal invites all stakeholders, all investors.
You don’t have to have a trawler to partake. You may just specialise in providing cold-room facilities, or in providing mechanical workshop, dry-dock.
You may also be fighting fire, may be providing freshwater, or AGO for the vessels, medical services. When you have all these in the fishing terminal, then it becomes cheap for a new entrant.
So, even if a new person wants to invest in fishing, they only need to invest in trawler. But, for what we have now, you have to have your own jetty, your own workshop, you own everything needed.
But, with a fishing terminal, you just pay as you go. It is amazing that we don’t have that. And this is what obtains in any country that is interested in developing fishing.
So, we are very interested in developing not just for ourselves, but for the future of this country. For a population of about 200 million, we need to feed ourselves and fish is the cheapest source of protein.
Some countries now have aquaculture, they culture fish in the sea. Nigeria as big as we are, we don’t have one Tuna vessel.
By the time we are able to get out fishing right, auxiliary industries will develop, we begin to can tuna and preserve our products, which happen to be the best anywhere in the world.
For the industry to grow, we need the fishing terminal.