Brief History

The Nigerian institute for oceanography & marine research (NIOMR) was established in November 1975 by the research institutes establishment order of 1975. The institute is presently located on Wilmot point road bar beach, Victoria Island, Lagos


NIOMR is charged with responsibilities to conduct research into the resources and physical characteristics of the Nigerian territorial waters and the high seas beyond.

Specific Mandate

  1. Abundance, distribution, biological and other characteristics of species of fish and other marine forms of life and management measures for their rational exploitation and conservation
  2. Improvement of brackish / marine waters aquaculture
  3. Genetic characterization of marine and brackish water culturable fish species including the development of improved strains of fish species culture;
  4. Effective and sustainable management of fisheries resources through improved post-harvest preservation, utilization and storage using profitable technological processes
  5. Physical characteristics of the Nigerian territorial waters, the high seas beyond, topography of the sea beds and deposits on / or under the sea beds
  6. Effect of pollution on the health of Nigerian coastal waters and its prevention
  7. The socio-economic challenges of exploitation of the resources of the sea and brackish water
  8. Global climate change and sea level rise
  9. The improvement of coastal and brackish water fishing and fish culture through the design and fabrication of ecosystem friendly fishing gear types and fisheries implements
  10. The nature of the coastal and marine environment including coastal erosion, monitoring marine hazards, forecasting/prediction and the topography of the sea beds and deposits on or under it
  11. Extension research and liaison services
  12. Provision of technical training in areas of mandate

Key Achievements

Marine Geology/Geophysics

  • Identification and evaluation of the heavy minerals potential in Nigerian coastal waters;
  • Bathymetric charting of near shore Victoria Island, Lagos lagoon and hydrographic and geological survey of Benin and Escravos rivers;
  • Production of digitized maps of the Nigerian coastal zone;
  • Identification of suitable burrow pits for present and future sand replenishment activities;
  • Identification and constant monitoring of erosion – prone sites along the country’s entire coastline; and,
  • Mapping of dead coral banks on the western Nigeria continental shelf and documentation of sediment types and distribution.

Marine Biology

  • Provision of the scientific basis for the sea fisheries decree of 1971;
  • Identification of shrimp resources, execution of a tuna survey in Nigeria’s EPZ which confirmed sufficient abundance in commercial quantities.
  • Identification of key species of demersal resources (0-50m)
  • Identification of ‘deeper water (0-300m) resources;
  • Documentation of various aspects of the biology of identified resources; and,
  • Successful use of electrophoretic techniques as confirmatory taxonomic tools.


  • Genetic improvement of catfish through acquisition of germ plasm of promising strains from different ecological zones in Nigeria;
  • Development of mass production techniques for the fingerlings of clarias gariepinus and the hybrid of clarias sp. and heterobranchus sp.;
  • Successful culture of the commercially important oyster, crassotrea gasar;
  • Development of fish feed for the fish farm industry;
  • Enterprise combination of fish with vegetables/livestock;
  • Development of pond construction techniques in different ecological zones for profitable farming

Fishing Technology

  • Small scale artisanal fishing gear for increases in fish production – monofilament, shark drift net, coastal beach seine and refined “acadja” brush park;
  • Fabrication of turtle excluder device (TED) to facilitate the recertification of Nigeria for shrimp export to the USA and Europe;
  • Fabrication of by-catch reduction device (BRD) for the reduction in catch of juvenile fish species;
  • NIOMR in collaboration with FAO designed and produced multipurpose shallow draft mechanized fishing vessel;

Fish Technology

  • Design, fabrication and patented fish smoking kiln with a capacity of 250kg of fish for 6hours;
  • Pioneered the canning of tuna, Bonga, Sardinella, and drift fish (arioma spp) in Nigeria;
  • Utilization of small-sized fish species;
  • Production of fish meal – a high protein concentrate for fish and poultry feed;
  • Production of shark liver oil as a possible replacement for imported cod liver oil;
  • Production of value –added products from by-catch
    • spice-minced fish cakes,
    • salted fish cake, fish burger,
    • fish crackers, etc.
  • Domestication using locally fabricated pepper grinder (n20,000) to replace the imported flesh bone separator (us$20,000);
  • NIOMR complementary instant food; and,
  • Post-harvest fisheries loss assessment research through identification of appropriate interventions to improve the livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities

Physical & Chemical Oceanography

  • Identification of the sources, distribution and biological effects of some inorganic and organic pollutant and industrial effluents;
  • Establishment of the spatio-temporal variability in the standing stock of marine debris;
  • Establishment of a toxicity ranking for common heavy metals in the Nigerian environment and susceptibility ranking of some estuarine animals to intoxication by the identified metals;
  • The spatio-temporal variability in oceanographic data around the Lagos harbour and vertical profiles of oceanographic parameters of some offshore locations within Nigerian territorial waters established; and,
  • Evaluation of the impact of anthropogenic activities on benthic community structure of the Lagos lagoon

Economics and Statictics

  • Establishment of a fisheries data bank;
  • Socio-economic studies of artisanal fisheries; and,
  • Establishment of a statistical quality control chart for size monitoring of commercial fish species.

Extension Research & Liaison Services

  • Training workshops – farmers, fishermen, trainers, trawlers, fish processors
  • On-farm adaptive research of technologies;
  • Production of TV documentaries in fish farming;
  • Production of various extension guides/manuals;
  • Carried out adoption & impact assessment of some technologies;
  • Conducted baseline studies of some coastal states.

Measureable Impact

  • Beach seine net with high hanging ratio for effective mesh opening and appropriate twine diameter resulted in unprecedented large catch (about 2.2 tonnes) of croackers and 3.5 tonnes of catfish per day;
  • Increased fish yield from 1.0 -4.0mt/ha/yr to 5-10mt/ha/yr” as a result of the genetic improvement and mass production techniques for fingerlings.
  • Increased national aquaculture production from 25,000t – 80,000t following the use of WRS;
  • Increased fingerlings production from less than one million to over three millions annually;
  • Facilitate shrimp export to USA to the tune of us$50m annually with the introduction of TED;
  • Enhance the recruitment of juvenile and elimination of by-catch with the introduction of BRD;
  • Reduction of smoke drying period from 6-8hrs to 3-4 hrs per batch. The product is neater than the traditionally smoked product; and,
  • Capacity building of fishermen, fish farmers, trawlers, fish processors and trainers