Pirates Paralyze Nigeria's Fishing Industry
Economic activities in Ibeno, a fishing settlement in Akwa Ibom State, has slowed down following attacks on fishermen by sea pirates. The attacks, which have compelled fishermen to withdraw from the seas, are having adverse effects on revenue generation by the Ibeno Local Government Area.
Deaconess Grace Ebong, the Market Superintendent for Ibeno fish market, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the activities of the pirates had adversely affected the revenue profile of the council.
“The weekly revenue generated by the Council has dropped from N38,000 to N18,000 because only a fewer fishermen come to the market. “We hope that the government will take urgent steps to ensure that the fishermen go back to sea,” Ebong added.
The attacks have also forced owners of fishing trawlers to embark on an indefinite strike. The strike has led to increases in the prices of fish and other sea foods at Ibeno fish market.
For instance, a stick of four dried fish, which previously sold for between N150 and N200, now goes for N450.
Mr Okon Stephen, one of the fishermen in Ibeno, decried the activities of the pirates, who he said, extorted money from them and disposed them of their fishing materials and boats.
“Only two weeks ago, pirates killed two fishermen from Ibeno, and this has scared us away from the sea.
“This is why fish supply has stopped and everything is at a standstill here,’’ he added.
Stephen said the economy of the Ibeno community depended on the fishing industry.
The Association of Fishing Trawlers Owners last week in Lagos embarked on strike to protest activities of sea pirates in the country’s territorial waters.