Fish producers in Lagos have blamed the exorbitant rates of acquiring farming implements for the current price increase of fishes, saying the situation has made it increasingly difficult for young people to venture into fishing.
Segun Zebulon, chairman, Fishermen Cooperative, said despite having the readiness of thousands of fishers in the cooperative, the dearth of requisite equipment has continued to draw back their production capacity, according to a monitored news service.
“Before now, the outboard engine was sold for N400,000 but now, it is over N1.5 million. The second-hand outboard engine that we used to buy at N200, 000 is now N450, 000.
The prices of fishing nets and other accessories we need have also increased. You have to buy fuel to power the engine and you know that we do buy in Jerry cans, which are an additional cost. So, we cannot help it.
The costs we incur to get the fish have to affect the market prices of the little fishes we are able to catch,’’ he said.
Zebulon said youths, who desire to venture into the fishing business must possess at least N2 million to surf the high sea for fishing, noting that many fishermen still operate with canoes or local boats, which only suit shallow waters.
Their plight is further compounded by the developments around the shorelines, causing the fishes to relocate into the high sea. According to him, the women, children, and youths who harvest the seafoods on the shorelines are now finding it difficult to survive.
Zebulon said that some of the women, children, and youths had to go too far places to get those kinds of seafood, which add up to making the market prices of fish costly.
The market trend for fresh fishes in Lagos metropolis reveals that prices on the average are between N2,000 and N2,500 for three medium sizes and N4,000 or N5,000 for big sizes. Big sizes of frozen Tilapia fish sold for N2, 000, the average-sized catfish sold for between N1, 000 and N2, 000, average-sized frozen Titus fish and frozen Kote fish cost N400 and N500, respectively.
Also, the least market price for frozen stockfish is N800, with the big sizes costing up to N2, 500.