Some unscrupulous fish farmers are using additives and fertilisers as feeds to boost catfish production in Nigeria, a fish farmer, Mr Phillip Ogunnaike, has revealed.
Ogunnaike made the revelation in an interview in Lagos on Wednesday.
He warned that the use of the chemicals might pose serious danger to Nigerians because of the popularity of catfish in eateries nationwide, especially in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Kaduna, Warri, Uyo and other cities.
He noted that although there were some benefits of using fertilisers in fish farming, it was dangerous to use chemical-based feeds to produce fish for consumption.
“The use of fertilisers to enhance the production of catfish will definitely yield better returns for local farmers.
“But the kind of fertilisers some local farmers apply to fertilise the catfish is not healthy for consumers.
According to him, some farmers use chemicals to boost the growth and production rate of catfish, to increase yield.
Ogunnaike advised fish farmers to allow the farming process to take its natural course in fish production, rather than resorting to additives to make fast money.
“These chemically enhanced feeds are actually harmful to the catfish and ultimately to human consumption.
He, however, attributed the rise in the practice and use of chemicals to boost the production of fish to the high demand of catfish in Nigeria.
“The growing demand for catfish has generally necessitated the wrong use of chemical fertilisers to boost production by local farmers.
Ogunnaike cited a farm at Ikorodu, near Lagos, where he said that the farm operators were always harvesting catfish at short intervals and selling at low prices to consumers.
“Where 1Kg of catfish sells for between N600 to N900 per kg, they sell at N450 per Kg. This is quite questionable.”
The farmer reiterated the need for the harvesting of the catfish to be done at the right time and for farmers to desist from cutting corners in their bid to make quick cash.
“It takes between three to six months to harvest a healthy catfish, depending on the size you want and the quality of the feed.
“If you feed the catfish very well on protein-based diet it will grow well.”
He advised fish farmers to embrace the use of safe and healthy fertilisers that would in turn boost the production rate of their catfish.
“There are some protein-based chemicals and fertilisers that can be applied to boost catfish production.
“They contain elements like maggot and worms. They can be used as fertiliser for the fish.
“Cow dung can also boost production of catfish but the quality of the animal dung sho