Achieving Sustainability of Marine Fish Stocks in Nigeria: Can the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Make a Different?

Emmanuel E. Okon


Globally and in Nigeria, Marine Fish Stocks (MFS) are in a deplorable state and the consequences are unimaginable. Having identified this as one of environmental causes of the world’s greatest challengeshow to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution on Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda), which contains, among others, Goal 14 that specifically deals on how to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. How this goal will impact on the sustainability of MFS in Nigeria is the burning issue for policy makers, fisheries managers and academics. This article argues that the implications of the Agenda on the sustainability of MFS in Nigeria depends on, first, the extent Nigeria has integrated sustainable development into its marine fisheries law; second, the extent which Goal 14 and its associated targets have addressed the causes of the deplorable state of Nigeria’s MFS and, third, the extent Nigerian Marine Fisheries Law (NMFL) has implemented the targeted activities. The major findings of this article are (1) NMFL does not integrate sustainable development, (2) the Agenda does not address all the factors causing the poor state of Nigeria’s MFS, and (3) the level at which the NMFL has implemented the targeted activities under Goal 14 is low. In order to achieve sustainability of Nigeria’s MFS, this article recommends, among others, the enactment of a new NMFL that integrates sustainable development and contemporary conservation, management and compliance measures recommended or prescribed in the Agenda and other UN instruments on marine fisheries.

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