Oyetola Visits NIOMR, Says Institute Pivotal To Realizing Blue Economy Mandate

By Sylvanus OBASI, Lagos

The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Gboyega Oyetola on Thursday paid a maiden visit to the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) where he revealed that the institute which was hitherto domiciled under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has now been fully moved into the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy (FMMBE).

Speaking to newsman during the visit in Lagos, the minister said that developing the fishery industry in Nigeria is germane to the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry and that the Institute would play a major role towards realising the objective.

According to him, “Fish is a major source of protein and it’s part of the food security plan of this administration. So it’s important for us to see that it makes adequate contribution to the economy.

“Again, the department of Fisheries was moved from the ministry of Agriculture to the ministry of Blue Economy; so we are interested in seeing the development of fisheries in the country. And the Institute is particularly very important to us being a research institute”.

The minister also expressed happiness with the level of infrastructural development and technological advancement of the institution, promising better days ahead for the federal research institute. 

“I am impressed with what I have seen in terms of what they have been able to achieve for us to advance fishery technology in the country. 

“I want to assure you that we will continue to collaborate the Institute to ensure we are able to harness our ocean resources for economic growth; job creation, improved livelihood and environmental sustainability.

“So my visit today is part of my routine to see what is on ground and identify areas of collaboration. For instance, I discussed with Prof Sule about the need to do the mapping of our oceans. We should be able to know the actual stock of resources that are available to be able to know how to harness them”. 

Prof Abiodun Sule, Executive Director of NIOMR

Speaking further while responding to questions from journalists about the issue of illegal fishing and poaching by some foreigners on Nigerian waters, the former Osun State governor said it’s a major global problem that must be tackled collectively.

“The issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a global phenomenon that is not peculiar to Nigeria. Technologies have been developed to monitor and curtail these activities, but the unfortunate thing is that these foreigners harvest our fish, rebrand it and sometimes sell it back to us at exhobitant and scarce foreign exchange rates. 

“It’s a major problem, but I think we are going to be talking about fighting it collectively as it is a global thing”, he opined.


Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Director, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR); Professor Abiodun Sule welcomed the minister and his entourage to the Institute. 

He gave an impressive report of the Institute to the minister by highlighting it’s achievements while also harping on the potentials of the Institute towards achieving the goals of blue economy in Nigeria.