Shellfish farming has been identified as one of the major economic diversification projects that are capable of lifting Nigeria’s economy and create job opportunities.
It is the only important food source in the fish value chain that is still primarily gathered from the wild rather than farmed, according to a prominent fish expert.
Professor of Fisheries Management, Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Oluayo Bello-Olusoji made this known recently while presenting a paper titled, “Balanced Equation, the Missing Value–Shellfish” delivered at the Institution’s 124th Inaugural Lecture held in the university auditorium.
Olusoji pointed that Nigeria was blessed with a long coastline of about 853 kilometers with the Niger Delta region also having a large unused beach edge.
This, according to him, can be used for coastal shrimp farming without destroying mangroves adding that creeks, floodplains, brackish water and wetland areas have been identified as the best places for shellfish aquaculture in the country.
He said, “There are many consumers outside the country in Europe, Asia and America who are longing for many of the shellfish species which are abundant in Nigeria”
“Shellfish is experiencing extremely good export potential as it is now being exported to over 77 countries,” Don added
Olusoji further explained that shellfish can be categorised into crustaceans which include prawns, shrimps, lobsters, freshwater crayfish and molluscs such as clams, snails, oysters and periwinkles.
Investing along this value chain can help to reduce fish importation, improve livelihood and income among the teeming nation’s populace, he said.