The National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New Bussa, formerly known as Kainji Lake Research Project, was set up in 1968 by the Federal Government of Nigeria with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was the executing agency, while the then Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources represented the Federal Government. By 1975, FAO experts formally withdrew their participation and qualified Nigerians had to take over the management and responsibility of what came to be known as Kainji Lake Research Institute, through a decree promulgated by the then Military regime.

The Institute was one of the twenty-five Agricultural Research Institutes then under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. As a result of the re-organization of some of the Research Institutes within the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in 1987, the mandate of the Institute changed from the multi-commodity institution, namely:- Fisheries, Limnology, Public Health, Socio-Economics and Wildlife Ecology/Range Management, to mono-commodity research Institute based on Freshwater Fisheries and Aquatic Resources generally, with emphasis on Hydrology, Fish Biology, Fisheries Management, Limnology, Environment, Fisheries Technology, Hatchery Management, Aquaculture, Socio-economics, Extension liaison services and training.

The name of the Institute in 1988 was changed to National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research to reflect the new mandate. Presently, the Institutes outstations are located in the following places Tiga in Kano State; Maiduguri and Baga in Borno State, and Dadin-kowa in Gombe State. But with varied levels of activities in Yauri, Kebbi State, and Oguta in Imo State. More outstations have been planned for locations in the other agro-ecological zones of the country. The activities of the Institute are funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is still the supervising Ministry.

Key Mandates

List of mandates Linkages with other organizations
1. Genetic improvement of freshwater fishes and other aquatic resources in rivers and lakes (natural and man-made Universities including UI, OAU; FUTM
2. Ensure the abundance and distribution of freshwater fishes and other aquatic resources FDF, ADP, State Govt/ LG, FAO, ABU, UniIlorin, IITA, GTZ, Private Orgn.
3. Ascertain the hydrological behaviour of natural and man-made lakes. PHC (NEPA) Water Resources Institute Kaduna , State Govt/LG
4. Limnology of surface and ground water around natural and man-made lakes UI, UniBen, FUTM
5. Rational exploitation and utilization of freshwater aquatic resources State Govt/LG, IITA Private Organisation
6. Ecological and socio-economic effects of the development of man-made lakes UI, NISER, LG, Central Bank, National Planning Commission
7. Improvement in aquacultural activities among fishing communities and fish farmers UI, FUTM, UniJos, Michael Okpara University, FDF, FISON, NUFS, FBA, NAFFA, AOFFEN, Private Fish Farms
8. Carry out extension research liaison services with the Federal as well as State Ministries, primary producers, industries and other users of research results on matters of freshwater fisheries and other aquatic resources in collaboration with NAERLS State Govt, ADP, NAERLs Private Fish Farmers
9. Provide technical and vocational training in freshwater fisheries and related fields leading to the award of National Diploma FCFFT New Bussa. FCFFT Baga, Universities of Agriculture, FDF, Private Fish Farms
10. Provide laboratory and other technical services to fish farmers, industries and others concerned with freshwater fisheries problems. UI, IITA, FPB, NAPRI, NVRI, OAU, UniJos, FCFFT New Bussa, Baga, Private Fish Farms
11. Collaborate with all relevant Research Institutes, Universities and other organizations including agencies in both public and private sectors. Dept of Fisheries in Nigeria Universities, Universities of Agriculture, DELSU, SHELL/SPDC, WINROCK, GTZ/BMZ, EU, USAID, FMAWR, DIFID/FAO.
12. Library, Information and Documentation of freshwater aquatic resources in Nigeria. FAO/ASFA, FDF, FISON, ISNAR, NIOMR-+

Key Achievements With Measurable Impacts

3.1 Developed Technologies and Ready for Transfer
Hybrid fish development, male Heterobranchus longifilis and female Clarias anguillaris that attained over 2kg within 10 months in concrete and earthen ponds were developed.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Increase fish supply from fish farming due to high fish yield and provision of employment opportunities

3.2 Production of Zooplankton (Moina) as natural fish feed for fish larvae and fry.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Replaces imported Artemia thereby conserving foreign exchange
More fry develop and survival into fingerlings as seed for fish farmers towards increasing supply of fish to the market.
Crust of Moina dormant cell distributed to hatchery operators in Nigeria. Request for this technology is on the increase from neighbouring countries.

3.3 Kainji Solar Tent: Dries1 ton of fish in less than 18 hours.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Dried fish comparable to stock fish. Highly flavoured and could be stored for long periods. Affordable for household use by both artisanal and fish farmers.
Reduces post-harvest losses.

3.4 Smoking Kilns: Improved local traditional (Banda) kiln

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Efficient with 3½ – 6½ hours production time.
Conserves 42% – 65% fuel wood thereby discouraging aforestation

3.5 Fish Feed production
Developed several high quality categories of artificial feeds of various protein and energy levels for fingerling, juvenile, growers, and broodstock at cost efficient and value added.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Reduce importation of imported artificial fish feed thereby saving foreign exchange and lowering cost of input on feeds in aquaculture

3.6 Fish farming practices
Developed several hand on skill practices in pond construction, hatchery management, broodstock selection, water quality management, fish feed formulation, and fish disease control and hygiene

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Increase in number of fish farms in Nigeria, enhanced overall fish farming business, employment opportunities and livelihood activities of both city and rural dwellers.

3.7 Mechanical Boom for control of water hyacinth
The institute has developed the technology for mechanical boom construction with integration of community-based approach to aquatic weed control. The technology has reduced the menace of water hyacinth of Lake Kainji and prevented the spread of water hyacinth downstream the River Niger.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Prevented the almost collapse of fisheries of Lake Kainji and River Niger due to water hyacinth infestation control.

3.8 Training of Middle level manpower
As part of institute mandate the two colleges for the training of middle level man power has successfully promoted food security and human health through improving competency and capacity of the fishery sub-sector of the economy. Annually the schools trained over 50 fisheries officers in both short and long term courses.

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Enhanced capacity in middle level manpower of the fisheries sub-sector.

3.9 Student industrial attachment
The institute hosts over 120 students annually for 2 to 12 weeks industrial attachment for undergraduates, from Universities of Agriculture, and Universities of Technology, Colleges of Agriculture, and graduate students for M.Sc and Ph.D practical field experiences

Impact on agriculture and overall economic development
Enhanced professionalism of undergraduate and graduate training programme of the fisheries sub-sector.+