Examination of the Nigerian Sea Fisheries Act and Regulations: Lessons from the Fisheries Law of Seychelles


The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution on Transforming the World tagged 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which contains, among others, Goal 14 specifically dealing with conservation and sustainability of the ocean, seas and marine resources for present needs and the benefit of future generations. This has led to the emergence of the concept of the Blue economy, a strategy for Nations to achieve sustainability of marine resources while obtaining economic benefits. This paper examines the Sea Fisheries Act of Nigeria; the extant legal measures enacted to safeguard the maritime environment and how the actions taken by the institutions tasked with enforcing the regulations have faired. The paper compare the management of fisheries and marine life resources in Nigeria with the Fisheries Act of Seychelles. The paper argues that Seychelles is a country that has made laudable strides in fisheries under the Blue Economy strategy and 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. Furthermore, the paper notes the extent which Goal 14 and its associated targets can address the causes of the deplorable state of Nigeria’s MFS.  The paper found that SFA does not integrate sustainable development and the Blue Economy goals. Secondly, Agenda 2030 does not address all the factors causing the poor state of Nigeria’s MFS. The level at which the SFA has implemented the targeted activities under Goal 14 is low and not enough to sustain the county’s interest in establishing the Blue Economy. This article recommends the enactment of a new SFA in line with SDG14 that integrates sustainability of the fisheries stocks, conservation of their ecosystem through the implementation of contemporary conservation, management and amending the Nigerian Constitution where needed to comply with measures recommended or prescribed in the Agenda and other International instruments on marine fisheries conservation.