Data on fisheries output were meager in 1990. In the mid1960s , estimates indicated that Nigerian fisheries brought in 120,000 tons of fish per year and imported 180,000 tons, mostly air-dried fish. Domestic production through the 1970s ranged from 600,000 to 700,000 tons annually.
Nigeria has declared an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles from its coast. These waters include the continental shelf along more than 800 kilometers of coastline, a large area of brackish lagoons and creeks, and freshwater rivers and inland lakes, including fish-rich Lake Chad and Kainji Reservoir, among other artificial bodies of water. In the early 1980s, the bulk of the catch was taken by small businesses using large canoes (some motorized) along the coast, smaller canoes in the creeks and lagoons, and similar small boats in freshwater areas. The modern commercial fishing fleet consisted of about 300 licensed craft ranging in size from 20 tons to more than 6,000 tons; about one-third were vessels under 265 tons that engaged in inshore fishing and shrimping. In the mid-1970s, the government set up the Nigerian National Fish Company jointly with foreign interests to operate a deep-sea fishing fleet. In 1975 the Nigerian National Shrimp Company was established in partnership with a North American firm. But deep-sea fisheries were, and in 1990 continued to be, dominated by foreign-owned trawlers, despite substantial investment in fisheries development, including the provision of fishing supplies and outboard' motors to small local enterprises in the late 1970s.
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