A cross section of participants at the Technical Committee Meeting on Fisheries and Fish products

In an effort to boost the sustainability of fish and fish products from Nigeria for local consumption and export, a technical committee of stakeholders recently met in Lagos to consider the adoption of the African Eco Labeling Standard – Fisheries sustainability and eco-labeling requirements        (ARS/AES 02), as Nigeria Industrial Standard.

The Standard was developed under the auspices of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) in which Nigeria played an active part.

Addressing the Technical Committee (TC) meeting which held at the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Operational Headquarters, Lekki, Lagos SON Director General, Mr. Osita Aboloma enumerated thus “there have been numerous challenges associated with the export of Nigerian processed fish which has mainly been attributed to handling and preservation, with reports indicating a loss of over 40% in revenue.

Represented by Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, Director, Standards Development, the DG stated that this necessitated the elaboration of National Standards for fish sustainability and eco labeling to bridge the gap and improve Nigeria’s stake, locally and in the international market.

According to him, adopting the African standard was the fastest and smartest way to address the obvious challenge, in line with international best practice in standards development of not re-inventing the wheel where it already exists. “This is more so that Nigeria participated actively in the development of the African Standard”, he said.

The SON Chief Executive stated further that in order to optimize the achievement of the Technical Committee and consolidate on the adoption of the African standard, seven other draft Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) were slated for deliberation at the meeting, namely;

  • Code of Hygienic practice for smoked Fish
  • Standard for canned Shrimps and Prawns
  • Standard for Canned Fin Fish
  • Standard for Smoked Fish
  • Standard for Fish fillet
  • Standard for Frozen Fin Fish and
  • Standard for Quick frozen Shrimps & Prawns

Mr. Aboloma emphasized the importance of the draft standards for deliberation, stressing that they involved products that are consumed widely and frequently. “Achieving consensus on them would further actualize the dream of the Federal Government towards the diversification of the Nigerian economy through agricultural self-sufficiency and export.

The TC meeting was chaired by Mr. S.O Ajayi of the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria with representatives from the Federal Ministry of Environment, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Bank of Industry (BOI), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Export Promotion Commission, representative of Atlantic Shrimpers and other members from the organized private sector. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria provided the secretariat.

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