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April 15, 2024
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FG Inaugurates National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy to Tackle Diseases 

The Federal Government has  unveiled the National Aquatic Animal Health Strategy for Nigeria (NAAHS 2023-2027) to protect and improve aquatic animal health in the country.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Abuja  on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dr Ime Umoh,  said that the event was significant in the nation’s aquatic ecosystems.

“This event marks a significant milestone in our nation’s commitment to the well-being of our aquatic ecosystems.

“The prosperity of our aquatic industry and exploration of the great potentials of the industry towards food and nutritional security,” he said.

He added that the strategic plan would provide a roadmap for improved and safe fishery production and productivity in Nigeria.

Aquatic animal disease outbreaks posed a threat to trade facilitation, livelihoods, food nutrition security, ecosystem health as well as public health. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics in aquaculture also constitutes a major driver to AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR).

“In addition, climate change also threatens aquaculture by providing opportunities for some undesirable pathogens to establish in waters with warmer conditions,“ he said.

He maintained that the development of a comprehensive aquatic animal health strategic plan was necessary to provide a roadmap for improved and safe fishery production and productivity in Nigeria adding that the execution of the strategy would minimize the negative impacts of aquatic pathogens, protect the health of the human population, enhance the resilience of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems within the country and promote international trade of aquatic animal species such as aquaculture fish, shrimps, water snails, and frogs.

He therefore urged various stakeholders at all levels to continue to collaborate with the ministry in the implementation of the strategic document.

” This will facilitate its holistic implementation, sustainability and mobilisation of resources,” he said.

On his part, the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services in  the ministry, Dr Columba Vakuru, said the  initiative  would shape the future of Nigeria’s aquatic resources.

“Aquatic animal health is not just an environmental concern; it is a matter of national importance.

“Diseases affecting our aquatic animals can have severe consequences for our food and nutritional security, economy, public health, and the delicate balance of our aquatic ecosystems.

“It is imperative that we take proactive measures to safeguard the health and well-being of our aquatic animals,” he said.

In his remark, Mr Hassan Mundu, a representative of the Tilapia Development Association of Nigeria, called for the prompt implementation of the document.

Mundu ,who said it was a big step in the right direction, commended the ministry and other stakeholders for initiating the framework.

Particularly, the strategic document was aimed to prevent, control, and manage diseases in Nigeria’s aquatic animals through a systematic, holistic, and sustainable approach. Reports said.

This initiative also seeks to achieve food security and the safety of fisheries and aquaculture products and promote international trade in fisheries and aquaculture products.

 

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