Next Article in Journal
Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural and Industrial Water Demands in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region Using Statistical Downscaling Model (SDSM)
Next Article in Special Issue
Aquaponics: A Sustainable Path to Food Sovereignty and Enhanced Water Use Efficiency
Previous Article in Journal
Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Soil of Lalu Wetland Based on Monte Carlo Simulation and ACPS-MLR
Previous Article in Special Issue
Silicon Nutrition in Plants under Water-Deficit Conditions: Overview and Prospects
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Aquaculture Development in Nigeria: The Second Biggest Aquaculture Producer in Africa

Johnny Ogunji
1,2,* and
Sven Wuertz
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike, P.M.B. 1010, Abakaliki 482131, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Department Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Mueggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2023, 15(24), 4224;
Submission received: 8 November 2023 / Revised: 29 November 2023 / Accepted: 29 November 2023 / Published: 7 December 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Review Papers of Water, Agriculture and Aquaculture)


Today, fish farming has become one of the fastest-growing farming businesses, turning Nigeria into the second biggest aquaculture producer in Africa. Also, Nigeria is the leading country in the production of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and African bonytongue (Heterotis niloticus). The great quantity of land, inland water surface, and coastland, which are suitable for fish farming, have placed Nigeria at a very advantaged position to develop aquaculture further. Here, the development of brackish and marine aquaculture represents a promising field for future expansion. An adaptation of aquaculture development has to reduce the impact of climate change as outlined. Furthermore, disease management has to be urgently improved. Among others, the availability of commercial feed pellets is a bottleneck that has to be overcome. Unfortunately, Nigeria is far from self-sufficiency in its fish supply, with a deficit of about 2.5 million tons being imported, but national initiatives envision an expansion in the future to increase the supply of the population with high-quality protein and the prevention of malnutrition. This study identifies challenges and opportunities of the aquaculture subsector and tries to give some recommendations for future development, highlighting potential governmental interventions and support.

1. Introduction

Fish production is an important constituent of global food security and aquatic ecosystem management. Fish farming, on the other hand, is considered a key agricultural sector of food production all over the world. It is viewed as a crucial agricultural activity that can reduce nutritional deficiencies considerably on a global scale and therefore reduce poverty effectively [1].
Interestingly, aquaculture or fish cultivation offers a major source of animal protein and contributes heavily to household diets, livelihood, and economic development in many countries and regions of the world [2]. Nigeria is not left out. In the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy, aquaculture has been recorded as having the fastest growth rate. Since 2000, it has been growing at 13.6% per year, contributing significantly to economic development, although in the last years, a stagnation has been observed (Figure 1).
Fish accounts for nearly 40% of Nigeria’s protein intake, as fish consumption hovers between 11.2 and 13.3 kg/person/per year [3,4,5,6,7]. Still, Nigeria’s per capita protein intake is lower than the Sub-Saharan African average. Importantly, fish is cheaper than other sources of animal protein [8]. Annual fish production has reached 1 million metric tons. Aquaculture contributes 275,645 metric tons, and 805,210 metric tons originate from fisheries (Figure 1).
Although the National Aquaculture Strategy was formulated in 2008 [9] to increase domestic fish production and conceptualize future development, production figures did not increase substantially over the last ten years (Figure 1). Nevertheless, the aquaculture subsector plays a very important role in the Nigerian economy—similar to the economies of other African countries—with regards to job creation and income generation [4,10]. The suitable area available for aquaculture has made the endeavor very worthwhile to develop, and a production increase to 2.5 million t has been envisioned [8].
Nigeria is a coastal country. It covers 0.69% of world land area (including inland water surface area) [11]. It represents 0.28% of world inland water surface area and 0.11% of world coastline length, with 853 km of coastline. Nigeria contributes 0.52% to the total renewable water resources of the world. It includes 256,000 km2 of the continental shelf, comprising an exclusive economic zone of 210,900 km2 and a marine region of 46,000 km2 [12,13]. On the other hand, there are 14 million hectares of reservoirs, lakes, ponds, and major rivers in Nigeria. About 75% of these are moderately suitable for aquaculture production, and 112,085 km2 are considered as very suitable [9,14,15]. These have shored up the production of more than 1 million tons of fish each year. Nigeria has been recognized as one of the most suitable regions for aquaculture in the world. This is because of the good climatic conditions, favorable land, and desirable aquatic resources. Currently, over 60,000 ha are existing ponds [9,16].
In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of the aquaculture sector in Nigeria. Further, we identify challenges and opportunities of the aquaculture subsector. We provide recommendations for sustainable development and outline the most recommendable governmental interventions.

2. History

From a historical perspective, modern fish culture in Nigeria started during the period of the Second World War (1939–1945). The colonial master (Britain) initiated a study to evaluate aquatic resources in Nigeria [14]. The study revealed a huge potential of the fisheries’ resources. In 1941, the colonial authorities established a fishery organization in Lagos. By 1945, the fishery organization was merged with the Department of Commerce and Industries, and later, in 1950, it was renamed the Federal Fisheries Services. It was subsumed under the Federal Ministry of Economic Development. In 1951, a 160-hectare industrial-scale fish farm was established at Panyam near Jos for the culture of carp [3,17]. Today’s production comprises subsistence ponds (500–800 kg/ha/a), homestead ponds (1000–1500 kg/ha/a), commercial farms (5000–20,000 kg/ha/a), and recirculation aquaculture systems (300–400 kg/m3/production cycle of 4–6 months) [16].
Furthermore, fish culture intensified in the mid 1960s, supported by close cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation [18]. Starting in 1965, the feasibility of culturing grey mullet (Mugil spp.), pink prawn (Penaeus durorarum), tilapia (Tilapia spp.), and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) was studied. Other projects related to brackish water aquaculture emerged in the vicinity of Lagos around 1968. Thereafter, the number of fish ponds and fish farms steadily increased all over the country.
From 1960 to 1970, the volume of fish produced increased by ten folds. This gave confidence to more Nigerians to venture into fish farming. Today, fish farming has become one of the fastest-growing farming businesses in Nigeria [1,19]. In the same vein, the aquaculture production in Nigeria increased its contribution to the global production from 0.07% in 1995 to 0.21% in 2022 [20], turning Nigeria the second biggest producer in Africa.
Since the early 1960s, different species of fish were introduced, some native species and some imported ones. The indigenous species include tilapia, catfish, and African bonytongue. Among the tilapia species, Oreochromis niloticus, O. mossambicus, O. aureus, Sarotherodon galilaeus, S. melanotheron, and Coptodon rendalli were predominantly cultured [17,21,22]. The catfish species comprised the African catfish Clarias gariepinus and the sharptooth catfish Heterobranchus longifilis. A hybrid of the two catfish species, “Heteroclarias”, was also farmed. The African bonytongue (Heterotis niloticus) is an emerging candidate for pond aquaculture (see Section 5.3). Farming of Lates niloticus and Chrysichthys spp. was also reported [17,23]. Though limited in number, these species were successfully cultured, either singly (monoculture) or in combination (polyculture) [17].
The species that were imported included the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Indian carps such as mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) and rohu (Labeo rohita), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) [24,25]. Unfortunately, out of all the imported species, C. carpio was the only one established as an aquaculture species [26].
Alluding to the data of Offem et al. [27] from southeast Nigeria, it can be adduced that the common fish species currently contributing to over 90% of production are (Figure 2) Clarias gariepinus, Torpedo-shaped catfishes (Heterobranchus longifilis, hybrid Heteroclarias), carp fishes, tilapia (mainly Oreochromis niloticus), Aba, and Nile perch. In general, the wide acceptability, high price, and robustness of African catfish and tilapia are the main reasons for their predominant position in African aquaculture [21,28]. Catfish is hardy; it grows tremendously at warm temperatures. Furthermore, as a facultative air breather, it survives in low oxygen content and can be farmed at high densities of up to 400 kg/m3 [28,29]. It can be harvested within 6–9 months of age at a market size of between 1 and 3 kg [29,30].
The success of Nigerian aquaculture is based on the production of the African catfish [22]. Nigeria is currently the largest producer of African catfish in the world [3,31]. African catfish is one of the most commercially important freshwater fish species in Africa. In Nigeria, it is the most popular fish on the local market [3,31]. In the early 2000s, the explosion of catfish production was a result of the technology transfer of catfish breeding, enabling the mass production of fingerlings [3].
Nigeria is ranked as the leading aquaculture-producing nation in Sub-Saharan Africa [3]. Aquaculture production in Nigeria rose from about 2000 t in 1960 to more than 300,000 t by 2015 (Figure 1). This rate dropped in 2019 to 290,000 t and furthermore decreased to 260,000 t in 2020 because of the COVID-19 impact. The last production figures revealed 275,645 t. The FAO [11] has reported that Nigeria dominated the global aquaculture production of bonytongues (Osteoglossiformes), with nearly 80%. Catfish was the largest aquaculture product nationally at 65.61%, but globally, it contributed only 2.85%. The contribution of characins to world aquaculture production is also noteworthy at 4.6%.

3. Socioeconomic Aspects and Marketing

Aquaculture in Nigeria contributes significantly to the creation of employment, the generation of income, national development, and the supply of nutritional requirements. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture Nigeria has reported that 10 million Nigerians are actively engaged in different categories of fisheries’ operations [32]. In the first quarter of 2021, the fisheries sector contributed 3.24% to the country’s GDP according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria stands out in Africa as the largest consumer of fish and also ranks among the largest fish consumers in the world [33]. About 3.6 million tons of fish are consumed annually in Nigeria [15,32]. This more than double the amount compared to 2004, with 1.4 million tons [34]. This increase in demand for fish has been attributed to population growth and changing dietary preferences [11]. Coincidentally, based on the Nigerian production of fish of 1.04 million tons (fisheries 75%, aquaculture 25%) [35], a deficit of about 2.5 million tons must be supplemented by importation [36,37,38]. This shows that Nigeria is far from self-sufficiency as envisioned in the National Aquaculture Strategy (NAS). Interestingly, it has been reported that the Government of Nigeria has set up plans to expand and develop aquaculture as one of the priority food value chains to reduce the level of fish imports and decrease the drain on foreign exchange [39].
Considering the fish supply deficit in Nigeria (2.5 million tons), up to 90% of fish produced is marketed in the local market to provide an affordable source of protein for the growing population [40,41]. The fisheries sector has supported the development of a strong distribution value chain by local businesses. This made it possible for SMEs to undertake the delivery of live or frozen catfish and tilapia products to their destinations [15].
Cheke [42] reported five different types of fish markets in Nigeria. The first is the “Fresh fish market”, where captured and artisanal fisheries are sold. The second is the “Live (catfish) market”, where aquaculture products are sold. The third is the “Imported fish market”. This market makes use of cold rooms, refrigerated trucks, and other modern facilities. The next is the “Industrial fish market”, where trawler operators sell some of their landings. Such markets are equipped with cold rooms, refrigerator trucks, and other modern facilities. Lastly, in 2010, the Federal Government of Nigeria established modern fish markets in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria [43]. The markets are fenced all around and provided with constant power supply, electric generators, and water boreholes [42]. They are also equipped with fish processing houses and lock-up shops, among other facilities.
The marketing and distribution of artisanal and aquaculture produced fish in Nigeria are handled by both males and females. Males and females play major roles in fish farming, but women dominate the retail part of the production cycle. Similarly, in the capture fisheries sector, where trawling and artisanal fishing are prominent, males dominate at the production level, and females control the processing and selling of the products. Tran et. al. [44] posits that the Nigerian aquaculture operations are dominated by males, but more women are found at the retailer level than men. In a specific survey of a retail fish market, Fumilayo [45] reports the dominance of female participants at a ratio of one-to-four.

4. Fish Processing Methods in Nigeria

The key roles of storage and processing are the major factors impacting fish marketing in Nigeria, substantially increasing the shelf life of products [46,47]. Processed fish is sold as smoked or dried fish. There are also other varieties like fish fingers, cakes, and ready-to-serve fish foods that stimulate wider interest in marketing, distribution, and consumption [48]. This huge local processing industry is dominated by women. It is characterized by individual, small-scale enterprises, which are predominantly home-based [46]. The products are entirely bought in markets by wholesalers who are also mostly women. The wholesalers take over the distribution of fish to inland markets all over the country. Ismail et al. [41] confirmed that the fish marketing channel in Nigeria is dominated and carried out through wholesalers and retailers of fresh and processed fish.
Olayemi et. al. [49] and Gawi and Sogbesan [50] reported that fish processing is dependent on traditional processing methods. These methods include mud-type, drum-type, pit oven, sun light, and smoke drying. The most common of all these processing techniques is smoke drying [50]. The combination of smoke, salt, and drying is considered to be one of the earliest methods of food preservation [49,51]. Unfortunately, these traditional methods have been confirmed to not be very effective in preventing microbial spoilage of harvested fishes [52].
The limitations of traditional methods brought about the introduction of an improved fish smoker kiln. The improved fish smoker kiln was introduced in 1997 by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP). Agricultural development programs (ADPs) thereafter undertook the grassroots extension delivery dissemination for usage of the new fish processor technology [53]. Considering the need for more improvement, Agbebi [46] has suggested the introduction and development of large-scale post-harvest technologies. Also, there should be improvements in transportation systems in the country to support the delivery of fish products to the markets. These interventions will be important steps towards improving aquaculture productivity in Nigeria. Furthermore, government control and food safety enforcement are mainly lacking, and goals to improve food safety measures in a chain-wide distribution are urgently required [54,55].

5. Challenges to Future Expansion of Aquaculture

5.1. Climate Change

Climate change has been placed on the front burner of developmental policies and global governance [16,56,57,58,59,60] (Onu and Ikehi, 2016; Onada et al., 2021). Effects include drastic changes in weather extremes (Wang, 2023), changes in hydrological regimes of inland water, and increased incidences of flooding and drought [56,61,62,63]. These effects obviously affect fish productivity [63,64]. Fish disease infestation is also on the rise and has reduced aquaculture productivity [16].
Nigeria has a tropical climate with two seasons—dry and rainy. Inland areas, particularly those in the northeast, experience the biggest temperature fluctuations. According to the World Bank and the Climate Scorecard (2019), Nigeria is among the ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. Nigeria has three distinct climate zones, a Sahelian hot and semi-arid climate in the north, a tropical savannah climate in most of the central regions, and, in the south, a tropical wet climate [65]. Consequently, a gradient of decreasing precipitation from south to north is reported. The southern regions experience strong rainfall during the rainy season from March to October, with annual rainfall above 2000 mm, occasionally reaching 4000 mm and more in the Niger Delta. In coastal areas, a short dry season is reported, with most rainfall from March to October, reaching about 1200 mm. The central regions experience a sharp single rainy season from April to September and a dry season from December to March. This dry season is under the influence of the Harmattan wind from the Sahara. In the northern regions, rain occurs from June to September at 500 mm to 750 mm, whereas hot and dry weather is reported for the rest of the year. Northern areas have a high annual variation in rainfall, which results in flooding and droughts.
In climate change scenarios, the steppe region is expanding to the south, and tropical monsoon regions expand to the north. This will first increase the vulnerability towards desertification and breaking down of the soil. The effect of increasing temperatures will hinder the growth of food crops such as rice [65]. Here, aquaculture may represent alternative crops, increasing the resilience of food production in the respective areas.
Nigeria is also prone to flooding [61,66]. In 2012, it experienced an extreme flooding event, turning two million people homeless. Just a year later, another flooding event hit the country, this time affecting less people due to the lessons learned. Floods occur almost every year. There is a trend of increasing temperatures [67] and a decrease in rainfall, with high variability [61,62,65].
Amare and Balana [59] observed that the impact of climate change is already putting the fragile environmental and socioeconomic system of Nigeria at risk. Severe weather conditions—protracted dry seasons and shorter but more extreme rainy seasons—are worsening the challenges faced by local communities. Ipinjolu et al. [68] reported increasing empirical evidence of climate change effects on fisheries and aquaculture in Nigeria. The implications of these events are becoming serious and affecting the livelihoods of communities as well as food security in Nigeria.
Increased temperatures affect the rearing water and influence fish physiology, altering breathing rates, increasing feed consumption, raising enzyme activities, and elevating oxygen consumption and feed metabolism [68,69,70]. These issues affect fish growth, reproduction, and the shelf life of products. Most importantly, increased temperatures bring about a severe reduction in oxygen solubility in the water. This also amplifies the survival and proliferation of parasites and bacteria. These situations certainly reduce fish survival and influence their natural foods. Reduced rainfall in some areas has also become a problem for fish culture. Expected profits will be depleted to make up for the cost of water used during fish rearing. On the other hand, floods resulting from excess rains will cause overflowing of culture enclosures, thus introducing losses for aquaculture ventures.
Ipinjolu et. al. [68] posited that the impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture in Nigeria still basically rely on observations, projections, and the experiences of other countries due to a lack of quantitative data. Several authors point out that issues relating to climate change and aquaculture are not presently prioritized in Nigeria [16,60]. Areola and Fakoya [71] confirmed a lack of national attention regarding the aquaculture sector in terms of national policy and strategic planning on climate change, which is brazenly threatening the potential of these subsectors. More attention from the government and citizens is urgently needed. As a recommendation, we suggest shortening the production cycle in the dry zones and the promotion of marketing of smaller-sized fishes to counteract the shortage of water. Thereby, aquaculture production could be focused on times with adequate water supply. In regions with risks of flooding, brackish aquaculture of tilapia and shrimp will reduce the risk of saltwater intrusion. Nevertheless, climate change stresses the need for comprehensive spatial planning to reduce the risks further.

5.2. Mariculture

It has been reported that 80% of the aquaculture fish production is realized from small-scale farmers involved in brackish and freshwater cultivation [1,72]. Unfortunately, mariculture has recorded several setbacks and has not been developed much [7,29], despite the 729,000 hectares suitable for mariculture [7,73].
Mariculture can be carried out in estuarine, brackish, coastal, and offshore waters and in enclosures such as ponds, pens, tanks, or channels. The organisms cultured include seaweeds, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. Brackish water aquaculture systems focus on fish farming and the production of quality fin and shell fish that are found in the creeks, lagoons, and estuaries [74]. Nigeria is naturally gifted with a long coast line, which lies along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean [74,75]. It has been reported that approximately 729,000 ha of saline mangrove swamp still exist, and aquaculture development poses a high risk of its destruction [73,76]. Therefore, sanctuaries should be established before developing commercial shrimp farming.
There are a lot of fin and shell fish species abounding in brackish water areas that can be potentially cultured in most coastal communities with negligible capital input. Since emerging aquaculture activities will not be abandoned, spatial planning is of utmost importance, and a zoning system should be established to protect mangroves.
Considering the potential of mariculture, multinational oil companies have shown interest to invest in this area. These include the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mobile Oil, and Agip Oil [77,78]. The SPDC has committed funds and supported shrimp culture in the Niger Delta [79,80]. Other national fishery professionals and institutions have invested to develop shrimp farming [81]; for example, Sulalanka (Sri Lanka consortium) received approval to begin the inland culture of marine black tiger shrimp [82]. Also, the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) made it their main concern to invest in shrimp farming [83].
However, the pioneering effort of the SPDC to invest in commercial shrimp farming in the Niger Delta failed [78]. Nevertheless, it stimulated the current interest of other public and private sector actors in shrimp aquaculture [78].

5.3. Feed Sector

The impressive expansion of African catfish has been propelled, among other factors, by the upcoming availability of high-quality feed. Undoubtedly, affordable high-quality aquaculture feed represents a major constraint impeding future development [84]. Currently, feed costs comprise between 40% and 60% of the total expenditure [84,85] and 60–80% of the operation costs [86]. Future expansion will highly depend on a reduction in costs without decreases in feed quality. A major effort is required to professionalize feed manufacturing, thereby reducing the dependency on imports. Nigeria has the highest number of feed mills in Sub-Saharan Africa, although small-scale operators dominate the market, producing about 60% of local production [85].
As such, much of the fishmeal in Nigeria used by the livestock and aquaculture sectors is imported. Also, the fishmeal production capacity is not able to match the increasing aquaculture production. This has therefore resulted in the importation of fish feed (up to 75%) [87].
Among others, one step will be the use of byproducts not designated for human consumption. Here, the use of blood meal and offal is worth mentioning. Also, insect meals should be explored more. Ideally, high-quality compound feeds would incorporate 5–10 ingredients to reduce the antinutrional effects of plant-derived ingredients such as oil press cakes. Some ingredients that are available in larger quantities in Nigeria include groundnut cake, spoilt groundnut, palm kernel cake, rice bran, guinea corn/sorghum, blood meal, and soybean cake [17,87,88]. Among the interventions that have already been partly implemented, though not very effective so far, are input subsidies, credit granting, pricing policies, and market liberalization [7].

5.4. Diseases

Disease outbreaks are a key problem in aquaculture. They are responsible for huge economic losses on a global scale. In Nigerian catfish farming, mortalities have been estimated between 1.9 and 19.7% per production cycle [89]. Next to the availability of drugs and the high costs of quality feed, aquaculture hygiene management has been identified as a major obstacle in the prevention of diseases [89,90]. Disease causes death in aquaculture, particularly in the hatchery. Increases in outbreaks have been linked to rises in temperature brought about by climate change. Unfortunately, several reports have shown that the level of awareness of the impact of disease, as well awareness of disease prevention and symptoms, is lacking in Nigeria [89,90]. Therefore, government should play an active role in dealing with disease issues in the future. The following suggestions should be undertaken:
There should be massive investment in professionals, researchers, and extension workers in water quality management, disease prevention, and hygiene and diagnostics.
The Ministry of Agriculture, being responsible for the development of aquaculture activities, should provide specialized training courses for farmers, increasing their awareness and providing necessary information on the respective measures established for hygiene in aquaculture.
Centralized and well-equipped laboratories should be set up in different regions of the country, integrating existing expertise from the universities.

5.5. Diversification

The aquaculture in Nigeria is currently dominated by carnivorous catfish, in particular African catfish. This dominance reduces the resilience of the aquaculture sector, particularly with regard to potentially emerging pathogens. Therefore, a diversification of the sector should be encouraged, preferentially with herbivores that require lower amounts of protein and are usually less prone to the antinutritional effects of plant ingredients, allowing for higher fishmeal substitution rates.
From our point of view, there are two highly recommendable candidates for diversification. One is the African Arowana Heterotis niloticus; the other one is the obscure snakehead Parachanna obscura. Using an evaluation matrix, Oboh et al. [22] scored Heterotis niloticus as the most promising candidate and snakehead as the third most promising. Still, the second best candidate according to Oboh et al. was the Silver catfish, scoring better due to a higher level of domestication and the maturity of technology [22].
Heterotis niloticus (the African bonytongue) was introduced into aquaculture first in the 1950s [91]. It seems to be an ideal candidate for diversification with regard to its high growth rate (3 to 4 kg in 1 year) and good meat quality. It is an herbivore and has a relatively high market price on the local markets. The domination of Nigeria in the global production of African bonytongues (80%) provides an even more compelling reason to consolidate its gains. However, no consistent progress has been made over the last decades. Such progress will require an all-inclusive research strategy that cuts across reproduction, nutrition, and growth so as to deliver reliable protocols for farmers. The government will be expected to provide funds for research institutions and universities that are to undertake the process.
The obscure snakehead is similarly attractive. It is an omnivorous species that breeds throughout the year. As a facultative air breather, it tolerates low oxygen levels and high ammonia and is well known for its hardiness [92]. Therefore, it seems ideally suited for areas with high contents of suspended solids, such as the Niger Delta. It exhibits a tremendous growth rate of 1 kg after 4–5 months [93,94]. In snakehead, intensification has been reported as the minimum goal for improvement. Indeed, it is highly valued, and current supply (mainly from fisheries) does not meet the demand.

6. Aquaculture Governance in Nigeria

Planning of the growth and development of aquaculture can only be sustained through good aquaculture governance. According to the FAO, appropriate planning will motivate and direct the development of the sector by providing encouragement and safeguards [95]. It will propel the attraction of investment, thus boosting development. Furthermore, it will facilitate the long-term economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the sector. This will ultimately contribute to economic growth and the need for poverty alleviation in the country. Production and regular updates of aquaculture development strategies and plans by nations are enshrined in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as very pertinent and prerequisite goals for ecological and sustainable aquaculture development [95].
Nigeria lacks a specific legislation for aquaculture at the national and state levels [96,97]. Neither aquaculture nor aquaculture-related activities are mentioned in the Sea Fisheries Decree and Regulations of 1971 and 1992. Notwithstanding this legislative loophole, Veliu et. al. [96] insist that the government has actively worked hard to develop aquaculture in the last four decades. There have been concerted efforts to establish demonstration fish farms and extensions of aquaculture technology.
In 1988l, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Rural Development presented the “Agricultural policy for Nigeria” [98]. Interestingly, fisheries were mentioned as a major component [98]. This policy presented measures to facilitate inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems. One of the issues emphasizes included increasing the water supply for food crop production through the construction of irrigation structures, dams, and boreholes in strategic food crop production zones. The government granted subsidies selectively on farm inputs, farm equipment/facilities, and farm services to reduce the costs of agricultural production as well as agricultural product prices to improve farmers’ revenues.
The policy was targeted to shore up the growth of specific areas of agriculture like livestock and the fish production subsector. The effectual and efficient utilization and conversion of agricultural byproducts was also prominently captured in the policy. The Inland Fisheries Decree and the Sea Fisheries Decree fine-tuned these developments and introduced synergy in the administration, management, protection, and improvement of the fisheries’ resources [99].
Due to the assumed failure of previous fisheries policies [99,100], a new Nigerian agricultural policy document was finalized and launched in the year 2001. The new policy document had common features with the former, but it was more focused and better articulated [101]. The aims of the new agricultural policy are (i) to achieve self-reliance in basic food supply and the realization of food security; (ii) to improve the production of agricultural raw materials for industries; (iii) to expand the production and processing of export crops by using improved and updated production and processing technologies; (iv) to ensure the generation of gainful employment [102].
One of the main thrusts of the new policy is (i) the advancement of strategies that will facilitate self-sufficiency and the enhancement of technical and economic efficiency in food production. Actions to be undertaken in pursuit of this goal include (a) the adoption of improved seeds and seed stock, (b) the introduction and adoption of enhanced husbandry and suitable machinery and tools, (c) proficient utilization of resources, (d) support for ecological specialization, and (e) acknowledgment of the small-scale farmers’ roles and potentials as the main producers of food in the country. The new agricultural policy emphasized the roles of the federal, state, and local governments. The private sector was not left out. Thereby, overlapping functions of these groups were removed.
In 2008, Nigeria presented the National Aquaculture Strategy [9]. Since then, no new document has been produced. As a sectoral document, the NAS is aimed at realizing increased domestic fish production on a sustainable and renewable basis. It intends to produce fish that will help Nigeria attain a level of self-sufficiency and be able to export its aquaculture products.
The NAS took account of some cross-sectoral elements dealing with fish farms and live fish transport and handling. Eight main strategic objectives were formulated: (i) supporting private sector-led investment in collaboration with the public sector and all operators in the fisheries subsector; (ii) investing in the socio-economic life of fishing communities by facilitating accessible fishing inputs, equipment, facilities, and credit; (iii) deliberately enacting policies that will reduce annual import of fish and fish products by 25% within five years; (iv) improving fish disease diagnosis, control, and prevention through network activities; (v) shoring up organizations related to fisheries so that they can contribute favorably to fisheries research and development; (vi) realizing an effectual safety and quality assurance system nationally to protect the health of consumers and enhance foreign exchange earnings via the exportation of fish and fish products; (vii) emphasizing value addition in fish processing; and (viii) developing efficient local and international marketing of fish and fishery products.
Interestingly, the NAS put together a blueprint, stipulating the responsibilities of the public and private sectors in the following areas: (i) production systems; (ii) access to inputs such as feeds, seeds, and capital; (iii) research; (iv) outreach programs; (v) education and training; (vi) fish product quality assurance and control; (vii) marketing and value addition; (viii) regulations; and (ix) monitoring, evaluation, and control.

7. Governmental Interventions

With regards to the substantial fish supply deficit in Nigeria, successive governments have embarked on interventions to diversify the economy and increase food and aquaculture production [103,104]. The government—in addition to other agencies—has taken active part in boosting fish production in Nigeria. The support to aquaculture, especially fish farming, has been a key policy initiative by past governments [105]. These governments paid attention to the facilitation of fish breeding: making fishery/aquaculture inputs available, promoting hatchery development, and standardizing hatchery-cum-fish-breeding processes [106].
From 1980, the Government of Nigeria implemented two major projects to develop aquaculture in the country. Between 1980 and 1992, the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF) established the Fish Seed Multiplication Project (FSMP) and the Pilot Fish Farm Project (PFFP) [107,108]. The FSMP was designed to utilize all available and ubiquitous water resources from irrigation dams and inland waters for fish production. Issa et al. [13] reported that zonal seed production and training centers were set up between 1978 and 1980. The River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) took charge of the project. The RBDA was mandated by the Federal Government to set up commercial fish farms that will evidence the economic viability of aquaculture, functioning as a nucleus for aquaculture development. The FSMP also started to provide fish farmers with fingerlings for stocking their ponds. Furthermore, aquaculture technology centers were established by the government in the northern, western, and eastern regions of Nigeria Kaduna State. Unfortunately, the interventions did not have the required impact.
The Federal Government of Nigeria went on implementing other agricultural development policies, strategies, and programs. One of these programs was the National Fadama Development Programme (NFDP).
Phase 1 of the National Fadama Development Project (NFDP-1), known as Fadama I, was implemented between 1993 and 1999. It focused on crop production, with its goal to promote simple, low-cost, improved irrigation technology under a World Bank financing arrangement [109,110,111]. The project provided farmers with boreholes and pumps through simple credit facilities but neglected support of postproduction activities (commodity processing, storage, and marketing) [109]. Fadama I was adjudged very successfully though.
The Second National Fadama Development Project (Fadama II) was launched in 2004 to increase the incomes of crop and fish farmers [110,111]. The primary goal was to empower local communities in order to improve governments’ capacity to reach out to poor people. Within the six years of Fadama II, specific technologies were introduced and disseminated to the fish farmers to develop their capacities and production [110]. It was observed that the Fadama II project brought about economic benefits through solutions such as increased production output, increased income, and decreased production cost. Technological, technical, and social benefits were also identified [110,111]. Tiamiyu et. al. [110] has recommended that development projects should utilize the demand-driven, bottom-top, family- and community-driven method used in Fadama II to address the needs of the poor in rural areas.
In 2010/2011, the Federal Government of Nigeria targeted a reformation of the agriculture sector through the implementation of a strategy called the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) [112]. The ATA strategy spanned from 2011 to 2015. The major thrust of the ATA was to grow the agricultural sector and turn Nigeria into an agriculturally industrialized economy [111]. Regarding the transformation of fisheries, the expected outputs according to FMARD [113] included 1.25 billion fish seeds per annum; the production of 400,000 t of fish feed per year; the production of 250,000 t of table-sized fish annually; and the creation of 100,000 jobs per annum for five years starting from 2011.
To achieve this, the Federal Government provided an easier way for farmers to access input like fertilizers through an important component of the ATA, called the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) [114]. The scheme was designed to encourage key actors to work collaboratively for the improvement of productivity, household food security, and boosting farmers’ incomes [114]. Fish farming benefited from the ATA in numerous ways [115]: the government installed fish cages at 21 strategic locations nationwide, established three fish markets for fish farmers in different parts of the country, supported the export of fish and shrimp exports, and issued catch certificates to exporters. However, it is argued that several challenges bedeviling aquaculture in Nigeria significantly limited the attainment of the laudable desired targets of the ATA [112].

8. Conclusions and Future Perspectives

In Nigeria, the demand for fish keeps on rising owing to an increase in population and changing dietary preferences (Table 1). This growing population represents a large labor force that is often already working in agriculture and may thus profit from their respective experience and knowledge. Continued sustainable development of aquaculture in Nigeria has become necessary to meet future demand for fish. On the other hand, Nigeria’s water resources—both freshwater and marine—will support future expansion. Presently, there are serious weaknesses that need to be overcome, most importantly the access to high-quality feed, lack of adequate training, in particular with regard to disease prevention and hygiene management, as well as consistent, supportive governance for the future development of the industry. As a strong example, Nigeria’s catfish farming is world-leading and may serve as an example for the professionalization of other farming activities. Undoubtedly, there are promising opportunities for the expansion of aquaculture, for example, brackish water shrimp farming or the emerging culture of bonytongue Heterotis niloticus. Among the challenges to come, financial support and access to credits will be an utmost important prerequisite for the development of the industry. Aquaculture governance should be strengthened and become one of the mechanisms to ensure sustainable aquaculture development. All stakeholders will be expected to participate meaningfully. Based on the information gathered and put together in this article, it becomes pertinent to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the institutional and policy context before making a definite verdict about the current status of aquaculture development in Nigeria. The following table summarizes the SWOT analysis of the existing aquaculture sector in Nigeria.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, S.W. and J.O.; writing—original draft preparation, J.O. and S.W.; writing—review and editing, S.W.; visualization—S.W. and J.O. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


J.O. received a Georg Foster grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. There was no further financial support.

Data Availability Statement

Data will be made available on reasonable request.


J.O. is an alumni of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. We are grateful for this support.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Kaleem, O.; Sabi, A.-F.B.S. Overview of aquaculture systems in Egypt and Nigeria, prospects, potentials, and constraints. Aquac. Fish. 2021, 6, 535–547. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. FAO. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in Action; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2020. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Ajayi, O.; Akinrinlola, A.; Usman, A.; Muhammed, A.; Van der Knaap, M. Aquaculture Development in Nigeria and FAO’s Role. In FAO Aquaculture News—International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022; Special Issue; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2022; pp. 21–24. [Google Scholar]
  4. Simus, M.; Subasinghe, R.; Siriwardena, S.N.; Shelley, C.C. Nigerian Aquaculture: An Investment Framework for Improved Incomes, New Jobs, Enhanced Nutritional Outcomes and Positive Economic Returns; Program Report: 2022-10; WorldFish: Penang, Malaysia, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  5. Subasinghe, R.; Siriwardena, S.N.; Byrd, K.; Chan, C.Y.; Dizyee, K.; Shikuku, K.; Tran, N.; Adegoke, A.; Adeleke, M.; Anastasiou, K.; et al. Nigeria Fish Futures: Aquaculture in Nigeria: Increasing Income, Diversifying Diets and Empowering Women; Report of the Scoping Study—Program Report: 2021-16; WorldFish: Penang, Malaysia, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  6. Kingsley, E.N.; Cyril, O.U.; Patience, O.I. Potential contribution of selected wild fish species to the minerals intake of Pregnant and Lactating Women, Children and Adults in Rural Riverine Communities of Edo State: Insights and Outcomes. Meas. Food 2022, 8, 1–7. [Google Scholar]
  7. Adeleke, B.; Robertson-Andersson, D.; Moodley, G.; Taylor, S. Aquaculture in Africa: A Comparative Review of Egypt, Nigeria, and Uganda Vis-A-Vis South Africa. Rev. Fish Sci. Aquac. 2020, 29, 167–197. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Babatunde, A.; Deborah, R.A.; Gan, M.; Simon, T. A quantitative SWOT analyses of key aquaculture players in Africa. Aquacult. Int. 2021, 29, 1753–1770. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  9. NAS. National Aquaculture Strategy. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2008. Available online: (accessed on 28 November 2023).
  10. Mulokozi, D.P.; Mmanda, F.P.; Onyango, P.; Lundh, T.; Tamatamah, R.; Berg, H. Rural aquaculture: Assessment of its contribution to household income and farmers’ perception in selected districts, Tanzania. Aquacult. Econ. Manag. 2020, 24, 387–405. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. FAO. Aquaculture Growth Potential in Nigeria: WAPI Factsheet; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  12. Nwuba, L.A.; Ude, E.F.; Ogbonnaya, H.F. Current trends in fisheries and aquaculture. Int. J. Agric. Food Biodivers. 2022, 1, 64–69. [Google Scholar]
  13. Abdullahi, T.I.; Oladimeji, Y.U.; Hassan, A.A. Economics of sole fish and integrated fish-vegetable production and its optimum inputs combination in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Ife J. Agric. 2022, 34, 19–34. [Google Scholar]
  14. Adewumi, A.A.; Fagbenro, O.A. Fisheries and aquaculture development in Nigeria—An appraisal. In Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Technology, Chengdu, China, 16–18 April 2010; pp. 423–426. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. TEKN. Aquaculture in Nigeria—A Fact Sheet; The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Abudja, Nigeria, 2019. [Google Scholar]
  16. Onada, O.A.; Ogunola, O.S. Climate smart aquaculture: A sustainable approach to increasing fish production in the face of climate change in Nigeria. Int. J. Aquac. Fish. Sci. 2016, 2, 12–17. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Dada, B.F. Present status and prospects for aquaculture in Nigeria. CIFA Tech. Pap. 1976, 4 (Suppl. S1), 79–85. [Google Scholar]
  18. FAO. Report to the Government of Nigeria on Experiments in Brackish-Water Fish Culture in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, 1965–68; Based on the Work of K.K. Nair, FAO/UNDP(TA) Inland Fishery Biologist (Fish Culture); Rep.FAO/UNDP(TA), (2759); FAO: Rome, Italy, 1969; p. 14. [Google Scholar]
  19. Olaoye, O.J.; Ojebiyi, W.G. Marine Fisheries in Nigeria: A Review. In Marine Ecology—Biotic and Abiotic Interactions; Türkoğlu, M., Önal, U., Ismen, A., Eds.; IntechOpen: London, UK, 2018; pp. 155–173. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. FAO. The State of Wolrd Fisheries And Aquaculture 2022—Towards Blue Transformation; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2022. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Brummett, R.E. Freshwater fish seed supply: Africa regional synthesis. In Assessment of Freshwater Fish Seed Resources for Sustainable Aquaculture; Bondad-Reantaso, M.G., Ed.; FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 501.; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2007; pp. 41–58. [Google Scholar]
  22. Oboh, A. Diversification of farmed fish species: A means to increase aquaculture production in Nigeria. Rev. Aquac. 2022, 14, 2089–2098. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. Fermon, Y. Subsistence Fish Farming in Africa: A Technical Manual; ACF International: New York, NY, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  24. Lae, R.; Williams, S.; Malam, M.; Massou, A.; Morand, P.; Mikolasek, O. Review of the present state of the environment, fish stocks and fisheries of the river Niger (West Africa). In Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on the Management of Large Rivers for Fisheries; RAP Publication 2004/16; Welcomme, R., Petr, T., Eds.; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2004; Volume 1. [Google Scholar]
  25. Barker, J. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) breeding in Nigeria. World Fish Cent. 1994, 17, 28–29. [Google Scholar]
  26. Coche, A.G.; Haight, B.A.; Vincke, M.M.J. Aquaculture Development and Research in Sub-Saharan Africa; CIFA Technical Paper/Document Technique du CPCA; FAO: Rome, Italy, 1994; Volume 23. [Google Scholar]
  27. Offem, B.O.; Ikpi, G.U.; Ada, F. Fish culture technologies in South-eastern Nigeria. Afr. J. Agr. Res. 2010, 5, 2521–2528. [Google Scholar]
  28. Ozigbo, E.; Anyadike, C.; Adegbite, O.S.; Kolawole, P. Review of aquaculture production and management in Nigeria. Am. J. Exp. Agric. 2014, 4, 1137–1151. [Google Scholar]
  29. Anetekhai Agenuma, M. Catfish aquaculture industry assessment in Nigeria. Afr. J. Biotechnol. 2010, 9, 73–76. [Google Scholar]
  30. Adewumi, A. Aquaculture in Nigeria: Sustainability issues and challenges. Direct Res. J. Agric. Food Sci. 2015, 3. [Google Scholar]
  31. FAO. Unlocking the Potential of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific—Nigeria; FISH4ACP Factsheet; FAO: Rome, Italy, 2023; Available online: (accessed on 23 September 2021).
  32. S&P. Nigeria Imports 2.2m Tonnes of Fish Annually. Ships and Ports Online. 2021. Available online: (accessed on 23 September 2021).
  33. Adelesi, O.O.; Baruwa, O.I. Profitability analysis of smallholder aquaculture farms: The case of Lagos State, Nigeria. JARTS 2022, 123, 109–120. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Kudi, T.M.; Bako, F.P.; Atala, T.K. Economics of fish production in Kaduna State, Nigeria. ARPN J. Agric. Biol. Sci. 2008, 3, 17–21. [Google Scholar]
  35. FAO. Nigeria GLOBEFISH Market Profile. 2023. Available online: (accessed on 12 October 2023).
  36. PUNCH. 2.4 Million Metric Tonnes Fish Imports Depleting Nigeria’s Forex—FG. PUNCH, 14 June 2022. 2022. Available online: (accessed on 28 November 2023).
  37. HWMIIA. How We Made it in Africa, 4 August 2023. 2023. Available online: (accessed on 28 November 2023).
  38. NT. Nigeria Imports 2.2m Tonnes of Fish Annually. Nigerian Tribune. 9 July 2021. Available online: (accessed on 7 October 2023).
  39. Guardian. Nigeria Spends $1.2bn to Import Fish Annually. The Guardian. 20 September 2019. Available online: (accessed on 7 October 2023).
  40. Kainga, P.E.; Adeyemo, A.O. Socio-Economic Characteristics of Fish Marketers in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. World J. Young Res. 2012, 2, 1–4. [Google Scholar]
  41. Ismail, A.L.; Tijani, B.A.; Abdullah, A.M.; Mohammed, B. Analysis of marketing channel and market structure of dried fish in Maiduguri Metropolis of Borno State, Nigeria. Eur. J. Bus. Manag. 2014, 6, 147–155. [Google Scholar]
  42. Cheke, A.O. Markets and marketing of fish and fishery products in Nigeria. In Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade, Australia. 4IFET 2014 Australia Conference Proceedings 2014, Point Brisbane, Australia, 7–11 July 2014. [Google Scholar]
  43. FRN. The Federal Republic of Nigeria-Prospectus of 5.625% Diaspora Bonds due 2022. 2017. p. 123. Available online: (accessed on 4 October 2023).
  44. Tran, N.; Shikuku, K.; Hoffmann, V.; Peart, J.; Cheong, K.C.; Dizyee, K.; Chan, C.Y.; Nukpezah, J.; Steensma, J.; Byrd, K. Cost Structure, Competition and Employment along Aquaculture Value Chains in Nigeria; Policy Brief 2021-30; WorldFish: Penang, Malaysia, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  45. Fumilayo, A.T. A survey of fish sold in Liverpool market in Lagos. Afr. J. Trop. Agric. 2014, 2, 93–97. [Google Scholar]
  46. Agbebi, F.O. Fish marketing and food security in Nigeria. In Proceedings of the IIFET 2010 Montpellier Proceedings, Montpellier, France, 13–16 July 2010. [Google Scholar]
  47. Wogu, M.D.; Maduakor, C.C. Evaluation of microbial spoilage of some aquacultured fresh fish in Benin City, Nigeria. Ethiop. J. Environ. Stud. Manag. 2010, 3. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  48. Eyo, A.A. Fish Processing Technology in the Tropics; National Institute for Freshwater, Fisheries Research (NIFFR): New Bussa, Nigeria, 2001; pp. 37–39. [Google Scholar]
  49. Olayemi, F.F.; Olayinka, R.A.; Oyelese, O.A.; Niyi, O.S.; Ayodele, O.M. Effective fish smoking kiln for developing country. Int. J. Sci. Eng. Res. 2013, 4. Available online: (accessed on 28 November 2023).
  50. Gawi, G.O.; Sogbesan, O.A. Fish processing and preservation techniques selected fishing communities along the Upper Benue River, Taraba State. Poult. Fish Wildl. Sci. 2017, 5. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  51. Abidemi-Iromini, O.A.; Olawusi-Peters, O.O.; Fadeyi, A.; Bello-Olusoji, O.A. Smoking impact on the microbial load of Clarias gariepinus. Ethiop. J. Environ. Stud. Manag. 2011, 4, 38–41. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Tobor, J.G. The Fishing Industry in Nigeria: Status and Potential for Self-Sufficiency in Production; Technical Paper 22; National Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research: Abudja, Nigeria, 1990. [Google Scholar]
  53. Jegede, D.C.; Bolorundworo, P.I. Constraints to the adoption of disseminated post-harvest fish handling technologies in North-Western zone. In Proceedings of the 26th Annual Confrence of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production, Akure, Nigeria, 18–22 March 2002; Volume 26, pp. 112–114. [Google Scholar]
  54. Grema, H.A.; Kwaga, J.K.P.; Bello, M.; Umaru, O.H. Understanding fish production and marketing systems in North-western Nigeria and identification of potential food safety risks using value chain framework. Prev. Vet. Med. 2020, 181, 105038. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  55. Alhaji, N.B.; Maikai, B.V.; Kwaga, J.K.P. Antimicrobial use, residue and resistance dissemination in freshwater fish farms of north-central Nigeria: One health implications. Food Control 2021, 130, 108238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  56. IPCC. AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023; The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Geneva, Switzerland, 2023. [Google Scholar]
  57. IPCC. Climate Change 2007—Impacts, Adaptations and Vulnerability; The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Geneva, Switzerland, 2007. [Google Scholar]
  58. Onu, F.; Ikehi, M. Mitigation and adaptation strategies to the effects of climate change on the environment and agriculture in Nigeria. IOSR J. Agric. Vet. Sci. 2016, 9, 26–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Amare, M.; Balana, B. Climate change, income sources, crop mix, and input use decisions: Evidence from Nigeria. Ecol. Econ. 2023, 211, 107892. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  60. Olutumise, A.I. Impact of relaxing flood policy interventions on fish production: Lessons from earthen pond-based farmers in Southwest Nigeria. Aquac. Int. 2023, 31, 1855–1878. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. Dike, V.N.; Lin, Z.H.; Ibe, C.C. Intensification of Summer Rainfall Extremes over Nigeria during Recent Decades. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 1084. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  62. Ogunrinde, A.T.; Oguntunde, P.G.; Akinwumiju, A.S.; Fasinmirin, J.T. Analysis of recent changes in rainfall and drought indices in Nigeria, 1981–2015. Hydrolog. Sci. J. 2019, 64, 1755–1768. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  63. Oparinde, L.O. Fish farmers’ welfare and climate change adaptation strategies in southwest, Nigeria: Application of multinomial endogenous switching regression model. Aquacult. Econ. Manag. 2021, 25, 450–471. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  64. Oparinde, L.O.; Amos, T.T.; Ajibefun, I.A. Risk management measures and welfare of aquaculture farmers in Ondo State, Nigeria: Does fish biodiversity play any role? Aquacult. Econ. Manag. 2023, 1–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  65. WBG. Climate Risk Profile—Nigeria; The World Bank Group: Washington, DC, USA, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  66. Isa, Z.; Sawa, B.A.; Abdussalam, A.F.; Ibrahim, M.; Babati, A.; Baba, B.M.; Ugya, A.Y. Impact of climate change on climate extreme indices in Kaduna River basin, Nigeria. Environ. Sci. Pollut. R. 2023, 30, 77689–77712. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  67. Akinbile, C.O.; Ogunmola, O.O.; Abolude, A.T.; Akande, S.O. Trends and spatial analysis of temperature and rainfall patterns on rice yields in Nigeria. Atmos. Sci. Lett. 2020, 21, e94410. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  68. Ipinjolu, J.K.; Magawata, I.; Shinkafi, B.A. Potential Impact of Climate Change on Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nigeria. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2014, 9, 338–344. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  69. Ern, R.; Andreassen, A.H.; Jutfelt, F. Physiological Mechanisms of Acute Upper Thermal Tolerance in Fish. Physiology 2023, 38, 141–158. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  70. Islam, M.J.; Kunzmann, A.; Slater, M.J. Responses of aquaculture fish to climate change-induced extreme temperatures: A review. J. World Aquac. Soc. 2022, 53, 314–366. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  71. Areola, F.; Fakoya, K. Flood mitigation and adaptation strategies for small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in Nigeria. In Proceedings of the CLIMATE 2020—The Worldwide Online Climate Conference Category 1—Resilience & Capacity Building, Online, 23–30 March 2020; Available online: (accessed on 5 October 2023).
  72. Oluwatobi, A.A.; Mutalib, H.A.; Adeniyi, T.K.; Olabode, J.O.; Adeyemi, A. Possible aquaculture development in Nigeria—Evidence for commercial prospects. J. Agric. Sci. Technol. B 2017, 7, 194–205. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  73. Sylvanus, A.N.; Gao, T. Structure and dynamics of fisheries in Nigeria. J. Ocean Univ. China 2007, 6, 281–291. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  74. Amosu, A.O.; Bashorun, O.W.; Babalola, O.O.; Olowu, R.A.; Togunde, K.A. Impact of climate change and anthropogenic activities on renewable coastal resources and biodiversity in Nigeria. J. Ecol. Nat. Environ. 2012, 4, 201–211. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  75. NIWA. Nigerian Waterways. 2023. National Inland Waterways Authority. Available online: (accessed on 4 October 2023).
  76. Amosu, A.O.; Robertson-Andersson, D.V.; Maneveldt, G.W.; Anderson, R.J.; Bolton, J.J. South African Seaweed Aquaculture: A Sustainable Development Example for Other African Coastal Countries. Afr. J. Agric. Sci. 2013, 8, 5260–5271. [Google Scholar]
  77. Elezuo, K.O. Semi- intensive monoculture of freshwater shrimps in nigeria: A Review. Cont. J. Biol. Sci. 2011, 4, 13–21. [Google Scholar]
  78. Zabbey, N.; Erondu, E.S.; Hart, A.I. Nigeria and the prospect of shrimp farming: Critical issues. Livest. Res. Rural. Dev. 2010, 22. Available online: (accessed on 5 October 2023).
  79. BD. Shell/USAID N266bn shrimp project on shaky start. Bus. Day Newsp. 2004, 3, 1–2. [Google Scholar]
  80. CII. Subsector Assessment of the Nigerian Shrimp and Prawn Industry. In Agricultural Development Asstistance in Nigeria; RAISE IQC, Contr. No. PCE-1-00-99-00003-00; T. O. 812 2002; Prepared for: The United States Agency for International Development. (USAID)/Nigeria; CII—Chemonics Intern. Inc.: Washington, DC, USA, 2002. [Google Scholar]
  81. Sogbesan, A.O.; Ugwumba, A.A.A. Nutritional values of some non-conventional animal protein feedstuffs used as fishmeal supplement in aquaculture practices in Nigeria. Turk. J. Fish Aquat. Sc. 2008, 8, 159–164. [Google Scholar]
  82. TD. Shrimp Farming Will Ruin Nigeria’s Environment’—This Day Newspaer Lagos. 14 January 2008. Available online: (accessed on 27 September 2023).
  83. TG. Institute and private firm partner on shrimp Shrimp farming training. The Guardian Newspaper, 22 June 2008. [Google Scholar]
  84. Udoh, I.U.; Dickson, B.F. The Nigerian aqua-feed industry: Potentials for commercial feed production. Nigerian J. Fish Aquac. 2017, 5, 86–95. Available online: (accessed on 23 October 2023).
  85. Fagbenro, O.; Adebayo, O. A review of the animal and aquafeed industries in Nigeria. A synthesis of the formulated animal and industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. 2005, pp. 25–36. Available online: (accessed on 23 October 2023).
  86. Hasan, M.R. Use of Feed and Fertilizer for Sustainable Aquaculture Development; 2006; FAO Aquaculture Newsletter. December 2005. p. 34. Available online: (accessed on 21 September 2023).
  87. Igbinosun, J.E.; Talabi, S.O.; Roberts, O.O.; Okoli, E. Replacement of Fish Meal by Soybean Mealin the Diets of Brackishwater Fish, Chrischthys nigrodigitatus; NIOMR Technical paper No 7; Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research: Abudja, Nigeria, 1979. [Google Scholar]
  88. Otubusin, S.O. Effects of different leve ls of blood m eal in pelleted feed on tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, production in floating bamboo netcages. Aquaculture 1987, 65, 263–266. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  89. Mukaila, R.; Ukwuaba, I.C.; Umaru, I.I. Economic impact of disease on small-scale catfish farms in Nigeria. Aquaculture 2023, 575, 739773. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  90. Adedeji, O.; Okocha, R. Constraint to aquaculture development in Nigeria and way forward. J. Appl. Sci. Res. 2011, 7, 1133–1140. [Google Scholar]
  91. Monentcham, S.E.; Kouam, J.; Pouomogne, V.; Kestemont, P. Biology and prospect for aquaculture of African bonytongue, (Cuvier, 1829): A review. Aquaculture 2009, 289, 191–198. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  92. Kpogue, D.N.S.; Mensah, G.A.; Fiogbe, E.D. A review of biology, ecology and prospect for aquaculture of Parachanna obscura. Rev. Fish Biol. Fisher. 2013, 23, 41–50. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  93. Bolaji, B.B.; Mfon, T.U.; Utibe, D.I. Preliminary study on the aspects of the biology of snakehead fish Parachanna obscura (Gunther) in a Nigerian wetland. Afr. J. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev. 2011, 11, 4708–4717. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  94. De Graaf, G.; Galemi, F.; Banzoussi, B. Recruitment control of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, by the African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822) and the African snakehead, Parachanna obscura (Gunther, 1861): A biological analysis. Aquaculture 1996, 146, 85–100. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  95. FAO. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; FAO: Rome, Italy, 1995. [Google Scholar]
  96. Veliu, A.; Gessese, N.; Ragasa, C.; Okali, C. Gender Analysis of Aquaculture Value Chain in Northeast Vietnam and Nigeria. Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. 2009, p. 44. Available online: (accessed on 20 September 2023).
  97. Agbeja, Y.E. Evaluation of the Laws, Policies and Governance Structure of the Nigerian Fisheries. The United Nations-Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme 2011–2012. Ocean Laws of the Sea—Division For Ocean Affairs And The Law Of The Sea Office Of Legal Affairs, The United Nations New York. 2012. Available online: (accessed on 20 September 2023).
  98. FMAWRRD. Agricultural Policy for Nigeria; Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development: Abudja, Nigeria, 1988. [Google Scholar]
  99. Ibeun, M.O. Information for fisheries management in Nigeria: The role of libraries and networking. In Information for Responsible Fisheries: Libraries as Mediators: Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference: Rome, Italy, 10–14 October 2005; Anderson, K.L., Thiery, C., Eds.; International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science: Fort Pierce, FL, USA, 2006; Available online: (accessed on 23 September 2023).
  100. Ladu, B.M.B.; Ovie, S.I. An Analysis of Fisheries Policy Development in Nigeria: A Fourth Phase Report on the Project “Sustainable Development of African Continental Fisheries: A Regional Study of Policy Options and Policy Formation Mechanisms for the Lake Chad Basin; Project No. ERB 1C18-CT98-9331; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2001. [Google Scholar]
  101. Manyong, V.M.; Ikpi, A.; Olayemi, J.K.; Yusuf, S.A.; Omonona, R.; Idachaba, F.S. Agriculture in Nigeria: Identifying Opportunities for Increased Commercialization and Investment; Main Report for USAID/Nigeria by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), In collaboration with University of Ibadan (UI); USAID: Abudja, Nigeria, 2003. Available online: (accessed on 2 September 2023).
  102. Owolabi, I.O.; Ashaolu, J.T.; Twumasi-Ankrah, S. The new Nigerian agricultural policy: Efficient for food security? Food Sci. Technol. 2016, 4, 1–6. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  103. Akinrotimi, O.A.; Cliff, P.T.; Ibemere, I.F. Integration of rural aquaculture into small scale farming in Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Glob. Approaches Exten. Pract. 2011, 7, 98–105. [Google Scholar]
  104. Edun, O.M.; Akinrotimi, O.A.; Eshiett, I.M. Roles of cooperative societies in aquaculture development: A case study of some local government areas in Rivers State, Nigeria. Agric. Ext. J. 2018, 2, 132–138. [Google Scholar]
  105. Issa, F.O.; Aderinoye, A.; Wahab, S.; Kagbu, J.H.; Adisa, R.A. Assessment of Aquaculture Development Programmes in Nigeria. J. Agric. Ext. 2022, 26, 18. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  106. FMARD. The Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016–2020) Building on the Successes of the ATA, Closing Key Gaps Policy and Strategy Document; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Abuja, Nigeria, 2016. [Google Scholar]
  107. Oyatoye, E.T.O. Developing a viable fish farming industry in Nigeria—An alternative strategy to the strategy in the Green Revolution Programme. In Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Calabar, Nigeria, 25–27 January 1982. [Google Scholar]
  108. FAO. Report of the FAO-Worldfish Center Workshop on Small-Scale Aquaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: Revisiting the Aquaculture Target Group Paradigm; 23–26 March 2004—CIFA OCCASIONAL PAPER nO. 25 CIFA/OP25; Food and Agriculture Organization: Limbé, Cameroon, 2005; Available online: (accessed on 12 September 2023).
  109. Nkonya, E.; Philip, D.; Mogues, T.; Pander, J.; Yahaya, M.K.; Adebowale, G.; Arokoyo, T.; Kato, E. Impacts of a Pro—Poor Community—Driven Development Project in Nigeria; IFPRI discussion Paper 00756; IFPRI: Washington, DC, USA, 2008. [Google Scholar]
  110. Tiamiyu, S.A.; Olaoye, O.J.; Ashimolowo, O.R.; Fakoya, E.O.; Ojebiyi, W.G. Benefits derived from National Fadama Development Project II by fish farmers in Lagos State, Nigeria. Int. J. Fish. Aquac. 2015, 7, 54–61. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  111. Alawode, O.O.; Oluwatayo, I.B. Development outcomes of Fadama III among fish farmers in Nigeria: Evidence from Lagos State. Eval. Program Plan. 2019, 75, 10–19. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  112. Ejiogu, A.O. Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) of the Nigerian Agricultural Transformation Agenda: Looking back and thinking ahead. Niger. Agric. Policy Res. J. 2017, 3, 28–41. [Google Scholar]
  113. FMARD. Agricultural Transformation Agenda: We Will Grow Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector. Draft for Discussion; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Abudja, Nigeria, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  114. Uduji, J.I.; Okolo-Obasi, E.N.; Asongu, S. Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) and Farmers’ Fertilizer Use in Rural Nigeria; AGDI Working Paper, No. WP/19/055; African Governance and Development Institute (AGDI): Yaoundé, Cameroon, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 20 October 2023).
  115. Uwakwe, V. Analyse the Development of Livestock and Fisheries Resources in Nigeria. HYATTRACTIONS. 23 February 2015. Available online: (accessed on 21 October 2023).
Figure 1. Aquaculture and capture fisheries’ production from 1960 to 2020.
Figure 1. Aquaculture and capture fisheries’ production from 1960 to 2020.
Water 15 04224 g001
Figure 2. Diversity of the aquaculture sector in Nigeria. (A). Characteristic curve of the accumulated annual production in 2023 (assessed 23 April 2023, FishStatJ v4.03.06) ranked by intensity reveals a less diverse sector dominated by African catfish. (B). Contribution of the six most relevant species to the total production.
Figure 2. Diversity of the aquaculture sector in Nigeria. (A). Characteristic curve of the accumulated annual production in 2023 (assessed 23 April 2023, FishStatJ v4.03.06) ranked by intensity reveals a less diverse sector dominated by African catfish. (B). Contribution of the six most relevant species to the total production.
Water 15 04224 g002
Table 1. SWOT Analysis of the aquaculture sector in Nigeria.
Table 1. SWOT Analysis of the aquaculture sector in Nigeria.
  • Increasing demand (declining wild stocks, rising incomes, and increased protein consumption)
  • Big population and large labor force; many are already in the agriculture sector
  • Large coastline and freshwater resources suitable for aquaculture production
  • Very good conditions for tropical freshwater and marine fish culture
  • Outstanding success with catfish aquaculture (knowledge and technology transfer)
  • Compensation of fish imports by expansion of aquaculture sector
  • Lack of capacity for feed production and inadequate supply of high-quality feed
  • Lack of capacity for seed production and inadequate supply of high-quality seed
  • Poorly organized value chain, inadequate market access and integration
  • High mortality rates at hatcheries as a result of weak biosecurity (disease, poor water quality and access to appropriate feed)
  • Poor farm management, resulting in low yields and increased risk of disease
  • Inadequate technical capacity, lack of technical training and education
  • Shortage of verifiable scientific data and statistics for management decisions in Nigeria’s fisheries sector
  • Inadequate infrastructure and insufficient resources
  • High rate of corruption
  • Lack of specific aquaculture policies and deficiency in effective implementation of existing policies and frameworks
  • Lack of effective plan to tackle climate change effects on aquaculture
  • Fast-growing population and high preference for affordable fish protein
  • Improving employment opportunities in rural areas and providing attractive and stable employment
  • Advancing food and nutritional security by providing cheap animal protein using fish
  • Growing economy
  • Possibility to improve the state of youth employment and migration
  • Many aquaculture enterprises available to provide solutions in areas of seeds, feeds, veterinary inputs, logistics, and production facilities
  • Current disposition of Nigerian Government to diversify agriculture including aquaculture
  • Growing interest of the youth for involvement in aquaculture
  • Providing avenue for foreign direct investment from international aquafeed companies
  • Introduction of new candidates into aquaculture like Heterotis niloticus, which has a wide appeal and acceptability by consumers
  • Production of high-quality, sustainable feeds
  • Improved seed production by participation of the private sector
  • Extension of market access, improved storage (cooling, freezing equipment)
  • Training of fish farmers (hygiene plans, disease monitoring, water quality)
  • Research on the biology and ecological requirements of endemic fish species with aquaculture potential
  • Realistic aquaculture development plan, integrated in national policies
  • Training of staff by network of universities and labs
  • Networking between stakeholders
  • Climatic change adaptations
  • Water supply
  • Unreasonable cultural factors (i.e., community norms and rules)
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Ogunji, J.; Wuertz, S. Aquaculture Development in Nigeria: The Second Biggest Aquaculture Producer in Africa. Water 2023, 15, 4224.

AMA Style

Ogunji J, Wuertz S. Aquaculture Development in Nigeria: The Second Biggest Aquaculture Producer in Africa. Water. 2023; 15(24):4224.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ogunji, Johnny, and Sven Wuertz. 2023. "Aquaculture Development in Nigeria: The Second Biggest Aquaculture Producer in Africa" Water 15, no. 24: 4224.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop