Fresh Fish Scarcity Hits Lagos Fish Markets


Alt: = "photo showing 2 women in water holding basket of fresh fish"

Fresh fish traders at Ejina Market in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have decried shortage in supply of fish by fishermen, People’s Gazette reports

Some of the traders said on Sunday that the prices of the few fish they got were high.

Fausat Ojikutu, whose father and husband are fishermen, said the business used to be lucrative but not any longer.

She blamed the situation on the challenges faced by fishermen in catching fish.

Mrs Ojikutu listed the challenges fishermen faced to include poor fishing equipment, sand dredging and the problem of water hyacinth, which is making fishing difficult.

The iyaloja (woman market leader) of the market, Sherifat Adeorike-Shodipo, said the inadequate supply of fresh fish had forced many traders to switch to frozen fish.

“In the past, we used to have adequate supply, and there was a particular species of fish that was affordable by all and sundry.

“Because of the challenges fishermen face in fishing these days, we don’t have enough to buy. And the few we get, we buy at high prices,” she said.

The market leader said an average size of Tilapia or Nile fish, which used to be sold for less than N1, 000, now sold between N1, 000 and N5, 000 owing to the challenges.

Another fresh fish trader, Tolani Owolabi, said that she had been in the business for more than 20 years and that she had achieved a lot, including building her own house.

“In this business, I have been able to give my children the best of education, build a house and do so many other things.

“Years back, I used to make a lot of profit because the fishes were so cheap and also always available for us to buy and sell.

“Now we make less profit because it is even expensive to buy from the fishermen and that has reduced our profits,” the 62-year-old woman said.

A customer at the market, Alomosan Adefowope, who buys to sell, lamented that many traders were switching to frozen fish because of the scarcity.

“I came from Surulere to this place to buy fish and at the end, I got less of what I wanted. When I get to my shop, I will get a carton of frozen fish to sell,” she said.

She urged the federal and state governments to support fishermen with training and equipment to tackle the problem of unavailability.

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