From its inception in 1962, the University of Lagos has been identified as a potential centre for the development of Marine Biology and Fisheries in Nigeria. At that time, it was the only University/ Institution in Nigeria situated by the sea and it was obvious that it was most suitable for the development of such disciplines. In the absence of a Faculty of Agriculture and taking full benefit of its location by the sea, lagoon and river, the University of Lagos is one of the very rare institutions in the world suitable for the establishment of a Marine Biology and Fisheries programme.
For a long time, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the UNESCO have been reviewing the state of Marine Science and Technology in Africa while the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has focused on Fisheries Training and Development in the continent. Expert groups were sent out separately by the UNESCO and FAO to locate centres in Africa suitable for the establishment and support of Marine Science and Fisheries respectively. Reports of both organizations picked the University of Lagos as the best centre for the development of Marine Biology and Fisheries programmes. Unfortunately, for so many years, the University of Lagos lacked an identifiable Department, Centre or Institute that could be recognized and supported by the UNESCO or FAO.