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INTRODUCTION Fishing is fundamental to coastal and riparian societiesan ancient activity that predates even agriculture. For millennia, harvesting resources from the seas, lakes, and rivers has been a source of sustenance and livelihood, and a mainstay of local culture. That is nearly as true today as it was a century ago. Fishing remains a bulwark of local employment in many communities, a key to food security for millions and a significant factor in the Nigerian economy. Yet, the nature of the fishing enterprise and the condition of the marine and freshwater resources it relies on could hardly have changed more radically in the last 100 years. WHAT IS A FISHERY? The term fishery can be confusing, because it is used differently by fisheries experts and in the technical literature, and by the media and in non-technical literature. From a technical point of view the term exclusively refers to the commercial activity of harvesting fish. In reality, however, fishery is often used to refer to the fish resource itself by non-technical audiences. Technically, a fishery consists of the fishing activity focused on certain fish, shellfish species, or a group of species, often in a certain geographic area. This can refer to the Lates fishery on River Benue or other targeted fish species especially the African Catfish. Non-technically, in literature and in the media, the term fishery is often used in reference to the actual stocks or populations within a certain geographic areaof a particular fish or shellfish species (or group of species) that are the subject of fishing activities. For example, the African Catfish fishery is used in the popular media to refer to the stocks of Clarias spp. or Heterobranchus spp. that are fished commercially. In this sense, the media can refer to a fishery (in reality they mean the stock) as being healthy or depleted, overfished or underexploited, reflecting the condition of the resource. INLAND WATER AND FISHERIES RESOURCES OF NIGERIA Ita and Sado (1985) revealed that Nigeria is blessed with an estimated inland water mass of 12.5 million hectares capable of producing about 512,000 metric tones of fish annually. As shown in Figure 1, these water resources are spread all over the country 2

from the coastal region to the arid zone of the Lake Chad Basin. The country has an extensive mangrove ecosystem of which a great proportion lies within the Niger Delta and are also found mostly in Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Ondo States. Freshwaters start at the Northern limit of the mangrove ecosystems and extend to the Sahellian region (Sotolu 2011).

Figure 1: Map of Nigeria showing major rivers and hydrological basins. The major rivers, estimated at about 10,812,400 ha, make up about 11.5% of the total surface area of Nigeria which is estimated to be approximately 94,185,000 ha. Thirteen lakes and reservoirs with a surface area of between 4,000 and 550,000 ha have a total surface area of 853,600 ha and represent about 1% of the total area of Nigeria.

Table 1: Sizes of Major Inland Water Bodies in Nigeria

S/No. Type/Name of Water Body Major Rivers 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Anambra River Benue River Cross River Imo River Qua0Iboe river Niger River (Less Kainji & Jebba) Ogun River Oshun River Subtotal (A) Major Lakes and Reservoirs 1. Lake Chad (Natural) 2. Kainji Lake (Man made) 3. Jebba Lake (Man made) 4. Shiroro Lake (Man made) 5. Goronyo Lake (Man made) 6. Tiga Lake (Man made) 7. Chalawa Gorge (Man made) 8. Dadin Kowa (Man made) 9. Kiri (Man made) 10. Bakolori (Man made) 11. Lower Anambra (Man made) 12. Zobe (Man made) 13. Oyan (Man made) Subtotal (B) Total (A + B) A + B as % of Total area of Nigeria (94,185,000 ha) 1,401,000 129,000 3,900,000 910,000 500,200 169,800 2,237,000 1,565,400 10,812,400 550,000 127,000 35,000 31,200 20,000 17,800 10,100 29,000 11,500 8,000 5,000 5,000 4,000 853,600 11,666,000 12.4% Aprox. Surface Area (ha)

Source: Ita et al. (1985) In terms of species diversity index, Kainji Lake had the highest value of 101 species followed by Jebba with 52 species (Ita et al., 1985). The high diversity index recorded for Kainji Lake is not unconnected with the intensity of investigations conducted in the lake since 1969. Jebba Lake, which extends from the outflow of Kainji Lake for about 100 km to the dam, is expected to harbour as many species as Kainji Lake if not more. However, on account of the paucity of investigations conducted on this reservoir, only about half the numbers of species in Kainji Lake have been documented for Jebba Lake. Although Kainji Lake still retains some riverine features along its northern arm, a reduction in fish species diversity was recorded after impoundment from over 120 species to about 97 species (Ita et al., 1985). Apart from the major rivers and lakes shown in Table 1, there

are other small lakes and perennial streams around in the country among which are Asejire dam and Eleyele Lake in Ibadan (South-West Nigeria) Fapohunda and Godstates (2007) and Doma dam and Hunki Lake (North-Central Nigeria). These water bodies usually take their course from nearby big rivers and are invariably richer in diversity of both shell and fin fish species (Tobor, 1991; FDF, 1995; Faturoti, 2000). Constant and regular fishing activities of shell fish, fin fish (pelagic and off-shore pelagic, demersal) and crustaceans are going on around existing water bodies in Nigeria. The reports of Fapohunda and Godstates (2007) indicated that Owena reservoir of approximately 600,000 m3 in South-West Nigeria harbours 14 fish species belonging to 9 families and its yield assessment is on the decline. In the Lagos lagoon reports showed that the brackish water body is known to be rich in several shrimp species among which are the Pink shrimp Penaeus notialis, P. duorarum dominant in 10-50 m depth of water, the tiger shrimp, (P. kerathurus) which is as large as the pink shrimp but of far less abundance and economic value. Parapenaeus longirostris occurs in abundant quantity in coastal shallow water, 0-20 m depth and commands a local economic importance. The bonga fish occurs along the whole length of tropical West Africa coastline and it is the most valuable and abundant fish in the artisanal fisheries in Nigeria (Tobor, 1991; Dublin-Green and Tobor, 1992). IMPORTANCE OF FISHERIES RESOURCES Fishing and the activities surrounding itprocessing, packing, transport, and retailingare important at every scale, from the village level to the level of national and international macroeconomics. Fishing generates significant revenue. In Nigeria, fisheries contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is about 1 billion dollars, while agriculture in general is estimated at 20 million dollars (Sotolu, 2011). Fishing is also a crucial source of livelihoods in developing nations, particularly for low-income families in rural areas where job options are limited. Small-scale employment and of subsistence last resort fishing when often more acts as the labor lucrative

opportunities cannot be found. FAO estimates that some 35 5

million people are directly engaged either full- or part-time, in fishing and aquaculture, and this may be a substantial underestimate. Over 95 percent of them live in developing countries, and the majority are small-scale fishers (FAO 2002; WRI et al., 2003). Because of their importance as a food and income source for the poor, managing inland fisheries resources wisely is a crucial element in Nigerias strategy to reduce poverty. But the challenge of attaining fisheries management that is environmentally and socially sustainable is becoming more formidable every day. Demand for fish is growing and will likely continue to grow over the next three decades, while current management practices cannot even maintain todays catch (FAO 2002). Nigerias wild fisheries are in desperate need of better management. Over the last two decades, over-fishing has become one of the major natural resource concerns in the world, and Nigeria in particular. FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR DEPLETING INLAND FISHERY RESOURCES 1. Population Growth: Population growth is one of the main challenges to management of
the Nigerias inland fisheries resources. Nigerias Population grows at 2.1% per annum with an estimated total population of 158.3 million people by the end of 2010 (HDR 2010). In addition, the population of livestock around the inland waters is similar to that of humans. High human population enhances fishing pressure and increases the demand for agricultural and domestic water supply and discharge of wastes. The high human and livestock population accelerates rates of deforestation, erosion, sedimentation, siltation and nutrient loading into the water bodies, which degrade the fish habitats.

2. Unsustainable fishing practices

One of the key challenges to the fisheries of most freshwater fisheries in Africa has been how to sustainably manage the fisheries resources. The fisheries policy of the Nigerian government seeks to ensure increased and sustainable fish production and utilization to reduce poverty. Unfortunately, most inland fisheries have declined and others are at the risk of collapse. The decline in the fish stocks on some of the inland waters has been attributed to: excessive fishing effort; use of destructive fishing gears and methods;

capture of immature fish; weak management and extension systems; inefficient packaging and dissemination of management information; outdated fisheries laws and regulations; inadequate capacity to enforce laws and regulations and limited commitment and involvement of stakeholders in management of fisheries resources and the fish habitats.

The term over-fishing refers to the action of fishing beyond the level at which a fish stock can replenish itself through natural reproduction. In other words, if too many fish are harvested because of excessive fishing pressure, the stock reaches a point where there are not enough fish of spawning age to reproduce and sustain the stock. In Lake Kainji, Seisay and du Feu (1997) observed a reduction in mean sizes (mean length and weight) of fish species and changes in species composition due to both recruitment and ecosystem over-fishing. Eyo (2004) reported a massive poaching of juvenile fishes on Lake Kainji by foreign fishermen who utilize gill net and beach seines (Dala) less than the 3 inches stipulated in the Inland fisheries decree. He called for a new act, which would regulate the fishing culture on Nigerian freshwaters, which suffered massive over-fishing in recent times. According to the author, those reckless fishermen have reduced the population of fish in the lake from about 35,000 metric tones to less than 10,000 metric tones at present. In Lake Chad Basin over-fishing was observed as far back as the 1970s by Stauch (1978) who reported that the fishermen resorted to using smaller mesh nets, which cropped the juveniles. Consequences of Over-Fishing A fish stock is considered to be fully fished when increases in fishing effort do not significantly increase the amount of fish harvested, but substantially increase the risk of over-fishing. Fully fished stocks are said to be exploited at their biological limita reference point below which the spawning stock is too low to ensure safe reproduction. Continued over-fishing of a stock can result in removal of a high proportion of fish of all age classesjuvenile to mature adult. When few mature adults remain to spawn

and few juveniles remain to grow to a harvestable size (a process called recruitment), such a stock is known as depleted. Prolonged over-fishing of a depleted stock can lead to its collapse, that is, the reduction in fish abundance to levels at which the harvest is negligible compared to historical levels. Depleted or collapsed stocks may require a long time to recover, even if fishing pressure has been reduced or eliminated entirely. Indeed, they may never recover their former productivity, due to changes in population dynamics, habitat conditions, and other biological factors that influence reproduction. 3. Loss of Aquatic Biodiversity: The conflict between using inland waters for biodiversity conservation or fish production needs to be resolved. This is particularly necessary in Nigeria where poverty eradication, export earnings and the need for dietary protein are priorities for the riparian countries. However, it is important to recognise that biodiversity integrity is the basis of sustainable biological production and therefore fishery potential and should be protected. 4. Pollution and Eutrophication: Changes in the physical, chemical and biological factors of inland waters effect fisheries and the functioning of the whole aquatic ecosystem. This leads to increase in eutrophication. Increases in eutropication has been attributed to nutrient enrichment from human activities in the catchment areas, industrial and domestic sewage inputs and from combustion processes (Hecky 1993, Bootsma & Hecky 1993). Since fish production and sustainability depend on the health of the fish habitat, there is need to consider management of pollution and eutrophication along fisheries management.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR INLAND FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA Inland Fisheries Decree 1992 In Nigeria, the management of Inland water is regarded as the exclusive responsibility of the state to which such water bodies belong (Ita, 1993). However, as a result of pressure from the Federal Department of Fisheries (F.D.F.) and the National Institute for

Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR), based on the need for the existence of a National Inland Fisheries Legislation to harmonize the administration, management, protection and improvement of fisheries resources in Inland waters, it has been observed that although Inland waters are within the state boundaries and therefore should be subject to legislation. Some of the waters usually traverse more-than one state, therefore action or lack of action by one state could have profound effect on the fishery resources, fishing and fish skill in another state. Inland Fisheries in Nigeria have recently been conferred with Federal Legislation (National Decree No, 108, 1992). The Decree provides in Section 5 sub-section 1 that no person shall fish with a gear constructed with net webbing, of less than 76rnm except where the gear consists of the following. Pelagic trawl nets used for freshwater sardines that. is clupeids, which are used with outboard engines of not more than 25HP capable of operating trawl net with 3mm cod end or lift nets used for freshwater sardines constructed with 3 5mm stretched mesh size webbing. Sub-section 2 stated that no single fishing unit should operate with a single net or a combination of nets exceeding 500m of 3mm mesh size and above. The decree also provides in section 6 sub-section 1 prohibition of Unorthodox except for electro-fishing and the use of chemical for the purpose of research. No person shall take or destroy or attempt to take or destroy any fish within the Inland water of Nigeria by any of the following methods; that is: Explosive substance Noxious or poisonous materials; or Electricity

PRINCIPLES AND CONCEPTS OF INLAND FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA Management has been defined as the integrated process of information gathering, analysis, planning, consultation, decision-making, allocation of resources and formulation and implementation, with enforcement as necessary, of regulations or rules which govern fisheries activities in order to ensure continued productivity of the resources and accomplishment of other fisheries objectives (FAO, 1997). The term is applied to 9

decisions and actions affecting the magnitude and composition of fishery resources and the distribution of benefits from its products (Welcomme, 2001). There are two main approaches to management, that based on the resources, mainly advocated by natural scientists, and that based on society, mainly advocated by socio-economists. Modern fisheries management seeks to reconcile these two views using them as tools for reaching balanced decisions on the resource with the participation of all stakeholders in fishery. Fishes are renewable natural resources, which should be exploited rationally on sustainable basis. Olatunde (1999) is of the opinion that to derive maximum benefits from them it is necessary to evolve effective integrated management strategies. This author further stated the management options should he to make the resources available; now and in future, at the time we need them, in very good condition at affordable prices, should enhance economic well being of the fisher-folk and should be environmental friendly. Scientific Management Mechanisms The principal mechanisms available to fishery managers to control fishing are limitations on catch and/or fishing effort, closed areas and seasons, and various controls on the catch of juveniles. Traditionally, closed areas and seasons, as well as controls on catches of juveniles, have been measures designed to ensure that fishing is restricted to appropriate segments of the population, or to protect spawning grounds and nursery areas. More recently, however, closed areas have emerged as a potentially valuable tool for inland fishery management, particularly in an ecosystem context. A. Managing Fishing Effort: Sustainable Management of Fish Stocks Sustainable management of the fishery resources is being undertaken through: Control of fishing effort; (Boats, gears, No of fish processing plants); Controlling fishing gears and methods. There is need to generate information for management of fisheries, which will ultimately culminate into a Fisheries Management Plan to: Develop, harmonise fisheries policies and legislation; Implement a monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) program to enforce the laws; Promote participation of stakeholders in management of the fishing through support; Provide additional information on the fish stocks, the environment and socioeconomic factors; Establish databases; Improve information, communication and outreach; and Improve infrastructure and human resources capacity.


B. Controlling the Population The degradation of inland fisheries resources in Nigeria can be traced to rapid population growth and changes in livelihood systems in the drainage basins. A doubling in population since 1960s has led to pressure on the diverse natural resources of which fisheries are part. The Nigerian government receives support from UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNFPA aimed at educating communities in family planning, encouraging widespread of immunization and handling of preventable diseases. While there have been some positive impacts, the population in many countries is still high. With severe droughts and floods that characterize many parts of the drainage basins and low agricultural prices, declining soil productivity, and unemployment, entry into the usually open access fisheries provided options for poverty alleviation and sustaining of peoples livelihood. Therefore, measures to control population growth should be accompanied by improved livelihood patterns in the communities and practical education programmes in resource use. C. Restrictions on Size, Season and Fishing Zones i). Size and Sex Selectivity The viability of stocks lie in their reproduction, a fact we have established in discussing natality and recruitment. Fishery managers try to help at times by forbidding catch of matured egg bearing females. They may also designate minimum mesh size of nets and the minimum size of fish caught so that immature fish are not caught before they reproduce. The method is effective for species that can be returned alive.

ii). Time and Area Closures Fishing is barred during periods or in certain fishing grounds This method of management has been used in both small scale and industrial fisheries Closed Seasons: used to protect stocks at critical times of their life cycles such as spawning periods. Fishers will however race for fishing during the open season.


Closed Areas: used to help depleted stocks recover or to protect biologically critical areas such as spawning grounds or juvenile nurseries.

D. Ecosystem Approach This focuses on aquatic resources as an integral part of an ecosystem and not as a collection of stocks to be exploited without regard to the system that nurtures them. It encompasses all economic benefits derivable from the aquatic environment including recreation, cultural identity, transport, tourism etc. Traditional Management Strategies in Nigeria Traditional fisheries management systems in sub-Saharan Africa employ a variety of management measures. Many of these measures can also be found in other fisheries of the world, whereas others are quite specific to Africa. The rationale of many management measures may be obscured by the socio-cultural and religious context in which they take place; their effect on the resource may sometimes appear to be a side-effect rather than intentional. Often, for example, rituals and magic are interwoven with fisheries management measures. They are in some cases considered an integral part of fishing technologies rather than additions, and should be treated as such by external institutions (Tvedten and Hersoug 1992). Means which are justified on primarily metaphysical grounds may, in the knowledge system of African inland fishers, be part of goal oriented and intentional resource management, however. Some of the management measures frequently found in African/Nigerian inland fisheries are highlighted below:

Access control The most common traditional fisheries management measure is to restrict the right of withdrawal to a defined group of people in order to quantitatively limit fishing pressure. Access may also be granted as a territorial use right. Closed areas


Traditional fisheries management authorities may declare specific parts of a water body off limits for fishing. Prohibition may cover all fishing activities or the use of specific gear, the fishing of certain species, or fishing during certain time periods. In many cases, these restrictions are again associated with religious beliefs, for instance when the respective water is seen as the home of a spirit. Closed seasons Closed seasons exist particularly at times when fish stocks are most vulnerable, such as during spawning or at the end of the dry season, when fish gather in residual waters and can be harvested almost completely. Gear restrictions and restriction of particular fishing methods Gear restrictions either concern the use of specific gear in general or, in the case of nets, the regulation of mesh sizes. Mesh size regulations are reported in recent times only and are applicable only to modern nets. They can be seen as an answer of traditional management systems to technical innovations or even as an incorporation of Western or scientific knowledge into traditional knowledge systems. Prohibition of capture of certain species or of undersized specimens The capture of certain fish species is prohibited, either totally or only in certain waters, and this has possibly evolved from the recognition that the collection of juveniles in one fishing season led to low catches in the next. Prohibitions can also be religious, for instance where fish are regarded as sacred, or result from a taboo to eat fish. Limitation of individual fishing effort The strong influence of egalitarian philosophy in traditional African societies finds expression in prohibitions of disproportionate extraction by individuals. Olomola (1993) mentions the prohibition of using magic power as an indirect management measure leading to this effect, particularly because extraordinarily high catches alone are regarded as circumstantial evidence for the use of witchcraft. Sacrifices or payment of fees According to many traditional beliefs, waters are often the home of spirits or deities. In the view of the fishers, to keep them in a favourable mood requires sacrifices.


Often, sacrifices are seen as an absolute prerequisite for fishing and an integral part of the activity. Traditional fisheries management systems therefore frequently force the individual fisher to make an adequate contribution to this investment. Such obligatory sacrifices, in the same way as fees or shares of the harvest to be paid to traditional rulers or to communities owning a resource, act as a threshold for entering fisheries. Intentionally or not, they may limit fishing effort to a certain extent, depending on the size of the entrance fee. CONCLUSION
Nigeria is rich in inland fisheries resources, which are of value to the communities. The resources are under threat and have continued to deteriorate despite efforts by institutions saddled with the responsibility of their management. The experience so far show that there has been lack of effective action due to, limited accessibility and application of scientific information; poor dissemination of management information; inappropriate and is some cases un-harmonised fisheries laws and regulations; inadequate enforcement of existing laws and regulations; Weak institutions and institutional processes; and inadequate funds to implement fisheries programs.

There is need to: Make appropriate information and data available to guide decision and formulation of policies, laws and regulations for sustainable management of the fisheries resources and the fish habitats; Provide appropriate policies, laws, regulations, and standards to be used in management efforts; Establish and develop effective institutions, institutional mechanisms including community participation to provide the required data and information, promote sustainable use practices, and enforce laws and regulations; and to provide adequate financial resources and human capacity to implement fisheries programs.


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