The Federal Government on Thursday warned against the consumption of unhealthy frozen fish smuggled through the country’s land borders, particularly Tilapia, which he said is illegal and punishable by law.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri listed such unhealthy fish species now prohibited to include: Red Pacus, Pangassius, Mackerel, Sardine and Croaker, among others.
According to him, “the consumption of unhealthy fish & fishery products in circulation in the Nigerian market poses grave health implications to our people. The negative effects also include loss of revenue to the Federation, decrease in local fish prod from aquaculture resulting in job loss.
Continuing, Lokpobiri said “these smuggled frozen fish are harmful to health & detrimental to progress being made to guarantee good health & nutrition of Nigerians,” he added.
The Minister lamented the activities of the importers, who he described as unpatriotic individuals out to sabotage government’s “efforts despite the extant fish importation policy/prohibition of frozen farmed fish into Nigeria.”
The Department of Fisheries/Aquaculture of the FMARD, he continued, “is the only competent authority empowered by the Nigeria Sea Fisheries Act Cap S4 2004 Laws of the Federation to issue Distant Water Fishing License Category “C” for importation of frozen fish/other fish products into Nigeria.
“The Department does not issue license for the importation of frozen farmed fish into Nigeria through the land borders.”