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General News of Saturday, 14 May 2022

Source: www.thenationonlineng.net

Fishermen warn against genetically improved Tilapia

Tilapia Tilapia

A network of fishermen in several African countries, FishNet Alliance, has called for a cautious approach to the planned introduction of genetically improved Tilapia fish into Nigeria.

The fishermen stated that the ‘artificial’ variety, if allowed into Nigeria would cross breed and eventually lead to extinction of the natural variety and distort the rich biodiversity of the nation.

The coalition appealed to the Federal Government to withhold regulatory approvals for the release of the artificially altered fish variety until the biosafety concerns around the variety is addressed and regulatory authorities strengthened.

The group made its position known on Friday in a statement issued by Stephen Oduware, Coordinator of the FishNet Alliance.

The alliance said the improved tilapia was to be introduced following “an inclusive legal agreement” between WorldFish and Premium Aquaculture Limited through a programme on genetically improved farmed Tilapia (GIFT).

It said according to the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, “This agreement will augur the establishment of a GIFT-based aquaculture industry in Nigeria.”

The group noted that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were collaborating with WorldFish and PAL on the endeavour.

It also called for increased transparency, accountability and public engagement before considering approving new life forms into the country’s environment and biodiversity.

The statement also quoted Executive Director of Home of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Dr Nnimmo Bassey, as opposing the idea while reacting to moves to release genetically improved tilapia into Nigeria.

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