The Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA) has raised concerns over the frequent clashes between seafarers aboard trawler vessels with local fishermen in some of the communities where fishing activities are concentrated along the nation’s territorial waters.
NITOA also lamented that the high cost of Automated Gas Oil (AGO) has rendered about 50% of trawlers useless noting that the challenges have affected the business of fishing in Nigeria.
President of NITOA ,Mrs. Ben Okonkwo who highlighted the numerous challenges affecting members of the association at the 2022 World Fisheries Day, maiden celebration in Nigeria, lamented that the clashes between crew aboard trawlers and local fishermen has led to damage and vandalisation of vessels at sea, noting that some of the trawlers are detained in the hands of the locals.
Okonkwo who was represented by the Secretary of NITOA Mr. Anthony De disclosed that reports from the captains and crew indicated that attacks from locals were common in Badagry waters by Indigenes of riverine communities adding that a committee has been set up to finding lasting solutions to the matter.
He said Frequent reports from the trawler captains have been alarming over what they go through in the hands of the local fishermen.
The NITOA President said “The area where these conflicts prominently occur has to do with the Badagry axis and a committee has been set up. Some of the captains find it difficult to operate within this region because of the issue and it’s affecting our business negatively.
She affirmed that aside the conflicts with local fishermen and the high cost diesel, the lack of existing jetty and terminals for fishing activities also pose a huge challenge for the trawler owners.
The President maintained that despite engaging government over the years on the need for the establishment of jetty or terminal for fishing activities , it has yet to yield positive results toward boosting aquaculture and fisheries sub sector of the maritime industry.
Okonkwo said NITOA will continue to partner the seafarers union in line with the World Fisheries Day celebration in Nigeria.
She commended the union for the Initiative towards bringing stakeholders from the fishing sub sector of the industry noting that such event would create more awareness about the challenges faced by companies under NITOA and the best way to resolving them.
By Roland Ekama