Norwegian fish export to Nigeria has dropped by 62.7 per cent in the last two years due to the Federal Government’s embargo and scarcity of foreign exchange.
Nigeria, the largest market for Norway’s fish, has tightened its import quotas since 2014 in order to develop its fish industry.
Annual total fish demand in Nigeria is estimated at 3.32 million metric tons, while the domestic fish production stands at 1.12 million metric tons.
New Telegraph’s findings revealed that the country’s demand for mackerel began to dwindle since 2014 when it imported 52,276 metric tons as against 497,183 metric tons imported in 2013.
The demand further fell to 37,364 metric tons in 2015 and 16,405 metric tons in 2016 because of the prevailing exchange rate and fish import quota. Although, it was learnt that government had relaxed its embargo on the quotas in 2016, but current import data revealed that imported volumes in 2016 has further gone down to 31.4 per cent from what the country used to import in 2014 owing to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s policy on 41 import items.
In the first quarter of 2016, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) said that export of mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting to Nigeria had recorded huge decline. Also, it noted that no Norwegian mackerel was exported to Nigeria since June, 2016. Between 2014 and 2016, New Telegraph gathered, the country imported N51.4 billion ($163 million) of mackerel from Norway. Also, it was revealed that the 12,000 metric tons imported into the country in 2016 were shipped between January and May, when exporters were offloading surplus at a lower price of $1,538 per metric ton.
Meanwhile, the Director of Fishery, Muazu Mohammed, said recently that the country produced less than one million tons of fish annually as against the 3.2 million tons demand. According to him, Nigeria was in a deficit of two million metric tons. The director observed that local fish feeds being produced in the country were sub-standard. He noted that 80 per cent of the fish produced in the country were catfish, while other species accounted for only 20 per cent. He said that exports to Nigeria fell by 9.5 per cent in 2015, compared with the same period in 2014.
Before the dwindling imports, Nigeria has imported some 1,688,308 metric tons of mackerel valued at $2.04 from Norway between 2012 and 2014. In 2012, data by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) revealed that the country imported 187,298 metric tons of herring; 140,298 metric tons of mackerel; 168,114 metric tons of horse mackerel, 90,065 metric tons of blue whiting and 6,418 metric tons of other species, 592,194 metric tons. Also in 2013, Nigeria took deliveries of 180,936 metric tons of herring; 116,879 metric tons of mackerel; 106,548 metric tons of horse mackerel, 82,771 metric tons of whiting and 10,049metric tons of other species, totaling 497,185 metric tons.