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Dr Nwenyi Okoro A (DVM, MPH)
Veterinary Services Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abakaliki,
Ebonyi State. okoronwenyi@gmail.com

EBONYI STATE PROFILE --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2
FISH STATISTICS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3
AQUACULTURE POLICY IN EBONYI ------------------------------------------------------------------- 3
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS --------------------------------------------------------------------------4
REFERENCES ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5




Ebonyi State is in the South Eastern part region of Nigeria. It is inhabited and populated primarily
by the Igbo tribe. It is divided into 13 Local Government Areas. Its capital and largest city is
Abakaliki. It is one of the six states created in 1996 by the Abacha government. Ebonyi was created
from parts of both Enugu State and Abia State1.
The State has a land area of about 5,935 sq. km, Ebonyi State is popularly known as the ‘Salt of the
Nation’ apparently because of the large deposits of salt water in the state. The State shares a
border with Benue State to the North, Enugu State to the west, Imo and Abia States to the south
and Cross River State to the east.

The state capital and largest city is Abakaliki; known for its famed Abakaliki Rice, it was a small
town that was reputed for its overflowing food markets before it became the State capital in 1996.
Abakaliki is a popular transit point as the state hosts part of the Trans Africa high way to Cameroun.
The people of Ebonyi are predominantly farmers who took advantage of the abundant and fertile
land to produce rice, fruits, vegetables, livestock and non-food items like limestone, rocks and
gravel – all of which are abundant throughout the area. Since it became state capital, Abakaliki has
grown into a much larger town with modern facilities and a workforce that includes a growing
number of civil servants, service providers and migrant workers who commute to work from
neighboring towns and states.
The state now boasts of several other growing towns beside Abakaliki. This includes Afikpo, Ikwo,
Ishiagu, Onueke and Ezzamgbo.
Ebonyi State has an estimated population of 4,339,136 based on the 2005 census and the
inhabitants are spread across 5,935 square kilometers.1
There is no published or unpublished data on fish production and consumption in Ebonyi State.
However in Nigeria the total fish demand, according to the Fisheries Committee for West Central
Gulf of Guinea based on the 2014 population estimate of 180m is 3.32m Mt. In 2014, fisheries
contributed 0.48% to the Agriculture GDP and contribution of Agriculture to GDP (2014) was
Ebonyi State is a fish importer from other states, even from as far away as the Lake Chad Basin
before the security challenges of the area affected this activity. This fact was elucidated from
interactions with traders in the market in Abakaliki, who source their goods from outside the state.

In Nigeria's fish production data has reflected that 5,788,474 tonnes of fish had been produced
between 2010 and 2015. Year 2014 recorded the highest tonnes of fish produced with 1,123,011
tonnes; the second highest tonnes of fish produced were recorded in 2015 while the least were
recorded 2010. The fish production data for Nigeria is not available by States but is aggregated by
sectors. However Rivers and lakes contributed 311, 903 metric tons in 20153. Ebonyi is traversed
by the Ebonyi River with its many tributaries. Ebonyi production must have been factored into this
sector, though it is not possible to state it in figures, as there are also several beaches in the state
connected to the Calabar water ways.


According to the FAO document, Nigeria has no specific regulation on Aquaculture. But there is a
department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development responsible for the
management of fisheries and for the preparation of policies and programmes - Federal
Department of Fisheries (FDF).
This department provides technical support to State Departments of Fisheries (SDF). Likewise, the
latter provide support to Local Government Authorities (LGA) on fisheries matters. Moreover,
fisheries and aquaculture research is carried out by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and

Marine Research (NIOMR) and by the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR),
while aquaculture training is ensured by the African Regional Aquaculture Centre (ARAC)4.

It may also be argued that Ebonyi State has no clear gazetted law/policy in this aspect of
Agriculture. However institutionally, there is a department of Fisheries in the Ministry of
Agriculture and Natural Resources, with relevant technical staff in Fisheries.

Clearly fisheries resources in Nigeria and Ebonyi state are under estimated and under documented
and will benefit from a clear policy direction.


1. Policy Brief Theme: Aquaculture Development in Ebonyi for Economic Contribution.

2. Data and Documentation: Robust system for collecting, managing and processing data as
regards fisheries and aquaculture in the state is key to driving the development of this sub-
sector. This will entail empowering the Department of Fisheries as well as Veterinary
Services with relevant skills and technology for data collection and processing. Data needs
will include fish consumption per capita, data on numbers and types of fishing production
in the state and GPS locations of fish farms, markets and processing facilities.
3. Training and Development: Appropriate training of fish farmers on modern methods of fish
production and processing will halt the movement of fish from other states into the state
and conserve capital in the state as well as make the state a supplier of fish to neighboring


1. Ebonyi State Profile: www.ebonyistate.gov.ng

2. Nigeria Fisheries Statistics 2016 summary: fcwc-fish.org
3. Nigeria Fish Production Data 2010- 2015: National Bureau of Statistics 2017
4. Food and Agricultural Organisation: Nigeria Aquaculture Legislation Overview