The Fisheries Society of Nigerian (FISON) has pledged its support to make fisheries and aquaculture production sustainable in the country.
The society made the pledge on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 in Lagos in commemoration of the 2018 World Fisheries Day.
Fisheries stakeholders globally celebrate World Fisheries Day on Nov. 21 yearly with the 2018 theme: Labour rights are human rights: working together to ensure the rights of fishers and strengthening the fight against trafficking and forced labour within the fishing sector.
National President of FISON, Dr Adegoke Agbabiaka, said in a statement that it was a call on the Federal Government to support the fight against trafficking and forced labour within the fishing sector.
Agbabiaka said that it was necessary to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188), which was meant to check the living conditions on fishing vessels among others.
He said that the adoption of the Convention would help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 8, aimed at promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
“It will also help in achieving SDG Number 14: which is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
“The Convention is meant to protect and promote decent work and living conditions on board fishing vessels, large and small, including their right to organise; their right of freedom of association.
“Their rights to freedom from forced labour and child labour; their rights against all forms of discrimination; and their rights to occupational safety and health and social security.
“This year’s theme is apt because the global fishing industry supports the livelihoods of millions.
“According to the FAO, an estimated 54.8 million people are involved in the primary production of fish, while 38.3 million of which are on board fishing vessels at sea.
“The majority of fishing vessel operators do not engage in abusive practices and treat their crews well with good living and working conditions on board.
“However, unscrupulous vessel operators use loopholes in the law and weak enforcement to undercut their competitors, ‘’ Agbabiaka said.
The national president, however, said the society believed in the multi-stakeholder approach whereby ministries for labour, fisheries, maritime safety and others work together with representatives of fishing vessels owners and fishers that would stimulate innovative thinking to build Goals 14 and 8 of the SDG.
“Furthermore, FISON calls upon President Muhammadu Buhari, to sign into law the Fisheries Institute of Nigeria Bill 2018 that was recently passed by both houses of the National Assembly.
“The law will ensure professionalism and adequate governance in the fisheries industry, ‘’ he said.
Agbabiaka urged all fish lovers to join in the celebration as the society move toward sustainable global fisheries.
World Fisheries Day was established in 1998, globally by fisher folk communities to draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of the aquatic resources.
FISON is the apex professional body responsible for fisheries development in Nigeria.
By Itohan Abara-Laserian