By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
A Professor of Fish Breeding and Aquaculture, with the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Olabode Adebayo has highlighted the preventive as well as curative properties inherent in fish and the many advantages of its production and consumption in Nigeria.
Delivering the 105th Inaugural lecture of the University, Prof. Adebayo said appropriate fish consumption helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and reduced incidence of heart disease in adults.
According to him, proven studies indicate that fish consumption could ameliorate stroke and mental illnesses including depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and dementia.
Speaking on the topic: “Aquaculture: A Catalyst for Sustainable Fish Production”, Adebayo said fish had numerous amino acids that were indispensable for human health, adding that for the many benefits of fish consumption to be possible, Nigeria must develop aquaculture policy to support sustainable fish production.
The Don said the advantages accruable to Nigeria from the development of aquaculture can help Nigeria save over $1.1 billion spent on fish importation annually.
On the economic value of fish breeding, Adebayo stated that aquaculture is the most sustainable, renewable, affordable and feasible option for self-sufficiency in fish production with great potentials of catalyzing production of large qualities of fish without negative environmental effects on natural water bodies.
The lecturer said fish production could be made available during off-seasons by regulating cropping from aqua-farmers, thus ensuring a steady supply.
He defined aquaculture as the captive farming of aquatic organisms in a controlled environment for many economic, social and health benefit, adding that aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of the world food economy.
Adebayo said fish had the richest available source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which is very significant in human diets for a wide range of critical functions such as visual and cognitive human development, particularly throughout the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
Citing the constraint of perishability, Adebayo said the commonest method of preserving fish by fish aquaculturist and the most available form of fish products for consumption in Nigeria is by smoking.
He added that smoked aquafish is found in all markets and is a delicacy in Nigeria dishes.
To improve the aquaculture production and preservation in Nigeria, Adebayo said government at all levels should promote and support research in aquaculture geared towards sustainable fish production.
He said there should be collaboration among universities, fisheries and aquaculture Research Institutes, the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and that the stake holders must work together in an all-inclusive way with the interactions being facilitated and coordinated by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Adebayo however highlighted the common constraints against yielding the full optimal result from aquaculture farming to include over dependence on Artenia nauplii, a brand of feed favoured by catfish breeders, which is costly and scarce in supply.
According to him, feed is the most expensive input in fish production and due to the high cost of fish feed, fish farmers embark on restricted feeding/starvation of fish stocks to reduce cost of production and this eventually have grave consequences for the growth, survival, carcass composition, morphological measurements and the economic performance of highbred catfish.
He said government should establish aquaculture development funds to finance aquaculture investments and encourage lending institutions to finance investment in aquaculture.
Adebayo said government should put in place regulatory agenda as well as a well-defined and enabling aquaculture policies strategies and plans such as guaranteed rights to land and water usage and a ban on fish importation to encourage aqua-farmers and investors.
In his remarks the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Professor Olatunde Arayela commended the lecturer on the delivery of the lecture describing the topic as very interesting and highly educative one.
He described Adebayo has a promising academic who has carved a niche for himself in his chosen career.