Seafood HACCP course helps Nigerian fish farmers improve food safety processes

Fish smoking is becoming an urgent alternative for Nigerian fish farmers to prevent economic losses.

From left: Usman, Bukar Ali, NAFDAC; Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant; Jim Thannum, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission; Sigbeku, O. Tunde, NAFDAC; and Beth Waitrovich, MSU Extension. Photo: Dave Frazier Jr. | Frazier Brothers Fisheries

From left: Usman, Bukar Ali, NAFDAC; Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant; Jim Thannum, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission; Sigbeku, O. Tunde, NAFDAC; and Beth Waitrovich, MSU Extension. Photo: Dave Frazier Jr. | Frazier Brothers Fisheries

A Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training Course that was coordinated by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission was recently conducted at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Two of the attendees traveled all the way from Nigeria as this course had a special section on developing HACCP plans for smoked fish processing to deal with food safety hazards unique to this product. The Nigerians represented the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), that regulates processed and semi-processed food. The need for value-added and preservation of fish in Nigeria is dire because many fish farmers are faced with losses due to poor infrastructure.

The fish production sector of Nigeria economy is in a developmental phase and it currently contributes about 5.7 percent to the nation’s economy. Nigeria depends on imported fish to meet domestic demand. Currently about 1.76 billion pounds of fish is produced locally while the annual demand for fish is put at 5.95 billion pounds, leading to a shortfall of about 4.19 billion pounds that must be imported. However, recent developments in the agricultural sector of the economy have brought to light the potential of domestic fish farming. This has led to a sudden rise in the production of freshwater fish with a focus on catfish and tilapia.

With the increase in fish production in Nigeria because of fish farming, the need for fish preservation, including both dried and wet smoked, is becoming an urgent alternative for fish farmers to prevent economic losses. Most of the smoked fish in the open markets are currently being processed using traditional methods, which are not regulated in any form. The commercial production, labeling, and marketing of smoked fish is at the edge of evolving in Nigeria.

In preparation for future challenges, NAFDAC embarked on capacity building for effective regulation and planning for the need to export smoke fish. The directorate of Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products (VMAP) participated in the seafood HACCP course to acquire information on recent developments in seafood HACCP applications to fish smoking, to understand the global prerequisite in fish preservation especially related to fish smoking, and to develop detailed training for Nigerian stakeholders from the training materials and knowledge acquired at the course.  

The Nigerian participants acknowledged that the seafood HACCP training has added value to the regulatory documents being developed for fish smoking on a commercial level. The agency looks forward to future participation in such training as a regulatory body and recommending the same for major stakeholders in Nigeria.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

Related Articles