Prospects of Fish Farming Business in Nigeria

Alt: = "pile of fish"

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Fish farming prospect in Nigeria
  • Nigeria culture fish species
  • Problems of fish farming in Nigeria
  • Conclusion


Aquaculture simply means the farming of fish and other marine organisms. It basically involves the cultivation of freshwater and saltwater animals in a controlled environment. The practice of fish farming is not the same as harvesting seawater fish. Harvesting of seawater fish is know as fishery, while farming of fish in culture is called aquaculture.

Fish farming began about 69 years ago in Nigeria. Fish farming in Nigeria started as a government driven venture in Panyam Fish Farm in 1951 in Jos, Plateau State. It’s now private sector led. Aquaculture is practiced in all regions of the country, but the most active ones are the South East, South South, South West and North Central regions of Nigeria. 

Prospects of Fish Farming in Nigeria 

The following indices show the good prospects of fish farming business in Nigeria:

High Demand/ Consumption

Today, Nigeria is the largest market for fish products in Africa. Researches have revealed that fish farming is the only way to bridge the gap between total fish demand and total domestic fish production. According to these researches, Nigeria went into fish farming as a result of decrease in supply from ocean fishes due to over fishing, consumer population increase, habitats destruction and pollution.

High Consumer Population

Nigeria is the most populous national in Africa and 7th in the world with population of about 206 million people and 3‰ annual population increase projection. Fish is household food commodity, a cheap source of protein in Nigeria. It’s recommended as substitute for red meat for the aged and people with some medical conditions. Almost 100% of this population consumes fish of different species. 

Decrease in Supply from the Aquatic Natural Habitat

There has been continuous decrease in supply of fish from seawater. Only Lagos and few other states in the riverine areas still produce fish through fisheries, while Nasarawa State is leading in aquaculture (fish farming), according to National Bureau of Statistics 2020 data. Human activities like water bodies population poisons and kill aquatic lives. Land reclamation due to urbanization is shrinking space for aquatic lives. Fisheries are no longer contributing much in term of local fish production. 

Huge Local Production and Supply Deficit

Nigeria consumes about 2.97 million metric tons of fish per year but produces only about 1.07 million metric tons annually leaving a huge deficit of about 1.9 million metric tons to importation with import bill of $1.2b. Even the 1.07 million metric tons produced locally, only about 313,231 is produced through aquaculture, about 759,828 metric tons is through fisheries. 

The huge supply deficit of about 1.9 million metric tons annually presents business opportunity for local fish farmers and investors in the fish sector.

Government Support

More than many other sub sectors in the agriculture sector, fish farming value chain enjoys government support in Nigeria at federal, state and local government level. The Anchor Borrowers Program of the Central Bank of Nigeria gives more credit facilities to fish and cassava farmers. Central Bank of Nigeria through its various intervention programmes has extended facility to fish value chain amounting to N21b. Under the commodity development initiative, CDI, the bank has disbursed a total of N500m to 40 companies and over 3,000 farmers across the nation. This intervention has  led to annual increment of 200 metric tons  mainly through fish farming.

Nigeria Fish Species

Nigeria freshwater bodies fishes also do well under culture. Some other species that inhabit the marine environment are also cultured in brackish water (mixture of sea and freshwater i.e lagoon) or freshwater (river, stream, lake in inland).

Common Nigeria freshwater ponds cultured fish species

The most cultured fish in Nigeria are clarias/catfish and Tilapia. They are  most culture candidates

Others species are Oreochromisniloticus, Sarotherodongalilaeus, Heterotisnilotcus, Hetrobranchus

There are  huge business opportunities in the entire fish value chain:

Hatchery and fingerlings productions

You can read: How to Start Fish Hatchery and Fingerlings Production in Nigeria

Feed production, distribution and marketing

Fish farming

Processing, packaging and distribution

Cool room operations

Read more on areas of specialization in fish farming

Problems of Fish Farming in Nigeria

There are some challenging facing fish farming business in Nigeria as in any other businesses and climes. It would not make sense if this article fails to point out these challenges.

Major challenges in that sector include: poor fish farming methods, inadequate technical capabilities and skills, high cost of fish feeds, low financing of fish farming projects by deposit money banks, inadequate storage and processing facilities, poor quality of brood stock, flooding, fish pests and diseases, and market failure.

These challenges are not insurmountable. BusinessCompiler had already proffered solutions to fish farming problems in Nigeria.


There you have it. In deed there is guaranteed future for fish farming in Nigeria. There is ready, larger and expanding market for fish farming business. If you are thinking of venturing into fish farming value chain in Nigeria, do not hesitate, go ahead, there are limitless opportunities. Fish farming is a profitable business in Nigeria

Fish importers are therefore encouraged to embrace and implement backward integration in the commercial fish farming sector. This will boost local production of fish. With the rising in consumption of fish products in Nigeria, one can only imagine how limitless supply would be when the amount expended on importation is invested in the local production value chain.

Related article: 20 Major Fish Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, Preventions and Treatments

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