SMALL SCALE SHRIMP FISHERIES
Report of a field based investigation conducted by the conservation program of Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) with support from The World Conservation Union (IUCN), The Netherlands.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Local Shrimp Centres………………………………………………………..3
Shrimp Catch Composition…………………………………………………..4
Kinds of Gear………………………………………………………………….5
Percentage Shrimp Fishers…………………………………………………...7
Industrial Shrimp Fisheries………………………………………………….10
Shrimp* is one of the leading highly priced sea foods on the global menu. The extensive continental shelf, especially the organic rich muddy sediments of the Niger Delta support good shrimp production in Nigeria. An estimated 12,000 metric tons (MT) of wild caught shrimp is produced annually in Nigeria, most of which is processed and exported to the developed world. It is pertinent to stress here that shrimp aquaculture, at least for commercial production, is presently non-existent in Nigeria but it is being contemplated by mostly oil companies operating in the Niger Delta.
Shrimp fisheries could be classified into two: Industrial or large scale shrimp fisheries and small scale shrimp fisheries. The former being highly organized and the major source of shrimp export enjoys keen attention. The latter however, involves numerous rural persons operating motorized and non-motorized boats to catch shrimp in creeks and rivers of littoral communities. Most of the shrimps caught in the small scale sector are consumed internally. For this reason, scarcely any comprehensive documentation exists on the status of artisanal shrimp fisheries in Nigeria and how it contributes to livelihoods in the local communities. Secondly, available literatures on small scale shrimp fisheries are in published scientific articles and therefore, confined to academic circles-not accessible to policy makers.
To fill part of the information gap, The World Conservation Union (IUCN) based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands funded the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), under her Nature and poverty programme (Small Wetland Grant) to survey artisanal shrimp fisheries in the Niger Delta and other neighbouring coastal states in Southern Nigeria. This is the report of CEHRD findings. It covers local shrimp fisheries, aspects of industrial shrimp fisheries and bycatch trade-an offshoot of the huge bycatch arising from the multispecies stocks of Nigeria’s tropical waters.
*Shrimp used herein also refers to prawn. The term is loosely used.
The project specific objectives were;
(1) Build the capacity of CEHRD conservation programme in the Subject area
(2) Investigate the present status of small-scale shrimp fishery in the Niger Delta in terms of percentage fishers and also investigate status quo of industrial shrimp fishing
(3) To organize workshop involving local fishers, industrial shrimp companies, lawmakers, on the need for sustainability in shrimp fisheries to maintain sustainable livelihood.
The study covered five states. Three states that make up the geographical Niger Delta and two other states in the neighbourhood of the delta. The states are Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta-Niger Delta, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
Nigeria is a maritime state with a coastline of 853km and lies between 4o 10’ to 6o20’N and longitude 2o 45’ to 8o 5’ E (Ibe, 1998). The Nigerian coastline stretches from the Western border with the Republic of Benin to the eastern border with the Cameroon Republic. Nigeria’s maritime area is 46, 500km2 between 0-20m depths and its Economic Exclusive zone (EEZ) is 210, 900km2 (world Resources, 1990).
The Niger Delta basin covers all the land between latitude 4o15’N and 5o 35N and longitude 5o 26’E and 7o 37’E with a total area of 20,000km2 (Yakubu et.al, 1998). The Niger Delta is the most important drainage feature of the Niger Benue river system. It covers about 2% of the surface area of Nigeria. The Atlantic Ocean coastline is interrupted by a series of estuaries which forms the Niger Delta swamp in the middle where the lower Niger River drains the waters of Rivers Niger and Benue into the ocean.
The Nigerian Continental shelf is narrow in the west and ranges in width from 28-33km. The width increase to 63km off cape Formoso at the nose of the Niger Delta, increasing eastwards to about 75km off Calabar. According to Amadi (1990), some of the coastal characteristics which are of importance to the Nigerian inshore demersal fisheries are the presence of thirty-six estuaries and the prominent Niger Delta which provides suitable habitat for the penaeid shrimps, finfish and other living marine resources.
In order to build the capacity of CEHRD’S conservation programme in the subject matter, the project team leader was trained for 4 days in Senegal. The training took place in four different institutions in Dakar, namely;
1) World wildlife Fund (WWF)
2) Senegal Institute of Agricultural Research
3) National Park and wildlife (coastal management office).
4) National oceanography data centre, Senegal.
In the four centres above, the project head interacted with shrimp experts on key areas related to the project at hand. These included biology of penaeid shrimp; migration pattern, environmental impact of shrimp aquaculture; biological data collection technique, resource conflicts, project conception, design, execution, evaluation and monitoring.
Data were collected in the field using direct sampling method- sampling catches of local fisherfolks randomly selected at landing sites, and through conducting structured and unstructured interviews. Catch composition, catch rate (weight) and bycatch-shrimp ratio were determined in the field by direct assessment using identification manuals (Powell, 1982, Schneider, 1990). Questionnaire and direct interrogation were conducted on local shrimp fisherfolks and bycatch traders to elicit relevant information on the sector. Other sources of data which we relied on include professional conference proceeding, published and unpublished articles, books and personal communication with fisheries experts. Information gathered from respondents and retrieved questionnaire were analyzed using the relative percentage method.
LOCAL SHRIMP CENTRES
At least, considerable shrimping activities take place in every littoral community in the Niger Delta and its coastal neighbourhoods. However, selected fishing settlements are designated shrimp centres based on their location, size and number of fishers involved in shrimp fishery vis-a-vis other forms of fisheries, and the volume of catches and marketing activities going on. A priori the local shrimp centres earlier identified were selected based on their accessibility and contribution to local economies.
They are as follows:
1) Rivers State
2) Bayelsa State
3) Akwa Ibom State
a) James town (Ibaka)
b) Mbe Ndoro
4) Delta State
5) Cross River State
b) Nsidong beach (Calabar).
SHRIMP CATCH COMPOSITION.
Shrimp catch composition in the artisanal sector depends greatly on the area where the shrimping takes place. The estuarine prawn, Nematopaleamon hastatus dominate artisanal catches from coastal waters and in estuaries, together with Penaeus notialis. Local shrimping crew of between 3-4 persons/boat using motorized and non-motorized dugout or plank-built canoes usually harvests this species in large quantities. Estuarine prawns, usually less than 65mm in length, are sold dried and locally referred to as ‘crayfish’. Dried Nematopaleamon may be cooked whole, but is mostly grind and used as condiment in local dishes. In estuaries too, Penaeus notialis, P. kerathurus and Parapenaeopsis atlantica are the major representatives in small-scale catches.
In freshwater rivers and creeks, Macrobranchium fishery predominates. M. felicinum (Niger River prawn), M. vollenhovenii (African River Prawn) and M. macrobranchion (Brackish River prawn) dominate the catches of this sector.
Other species that can be ranked as important in the small-scale shrimp sector in the sense that they are harvested for selling include, Desmocaris trispinosa, (Guinea Swamp shrimp) Palaemon maculatus (Zaire Prawn) and Palaemonetes africanus (Creek Shrimp).
According to Powell (1982), what are referred to as crayfish in West African English are really shrimps. True crayfish (Decapoda Reptantia) do not occur in mainland tropical Africa, except for introduced populations in East Africa.
Some shrimp species such as Leander tenuicornis (Biocellate prawn), Palaemon elagans (Rockpool prawn), etc do occur incidentally in local catches, which according to Powell (1982), are never intentionally fished for. On the contrary, the industrial shrimp sector in Nigeria is centred on the marine penaeid shrimp, P. notiatis harvested offshore by trawlers. P. notialis fishery is declining and its population since 2000 is substantially supplemented by an exotic species Penaeus monodon.
KINDS OF GEAR
Variable gear and fishing methods are employed by local shrimp fisherfolks in the studied area. There tended to be a sort of uniformity in gear design and application in all the fishing communities. A plausible explanation for the similarity in gear is that migrant fisherfolks travel to new settlements with their harvesting tools. And the residents often copy fishing with the introduced gear. On the other hand, migrant fishers also learn existing fishing methods in their new settlement. For these reasons local crafts and fishing methods are devised, selected and adapted by the fishers based on efficiency hence, the uniformity in gears and fishing methods observed in the area.
In creek shrimp fisheries, stake or grass woven traps of different dimension, scoop net and drag net are commonplace. Fishing with these gears take place in unmotorised boats, which involves manual rowing with paddles. Single fisherman and woman operate in a boat with hand scooping net while shrimping along mud flats and chicoco edges of creek channels and creeklets. One fisher may conveniently employ traps and baskets usually engaged in macrobranchuim fishery. Traps with single and multiple compartments are also used in the sector. Dragnet or hand seine requires two operators, each holding the wooden pole (handle) as the net is drag along in river channel (plate 44). Shrimp and other catchable stocks bigger than the net mesh size is retain in the net bag as water fitters through.
Local shrimping in coastal waters involves the use of uniform trap net designed in semblance of trawl net. The net is passive in nature. The stationary net bears different name amongst the various fishing communities. For instance in Rivers state, local fishers nicknamed the trap net “Nkoto”. At Mbe Ndoro however, the net is called “Esik”. This is a conical bag net of nylon material with a rectangular opening (plate 15). The mouth of the net is about 2.5m wide and about 2m high; the net is about 7-7.5m long. Stretched mesh size varies from 7mm at the cod-end to about 2.8cm near the mouth. According to one of the local fishermen at Ajaramonie, preparation of the Nkoto involves cooking the different net mesh sizes in a big pot with the bark of red mangrove tree (Rhizophora racemosa). Parboiling with mangrove bark changes the whitish colour of the newly bought
net to dark brown-depicting old coloration. This colour changes, the fishers claim, protects the net from the destructive tendencies of crabs and puffer fish fond of eating the net fabrics.
Fishing with the conical bag net (Nkoto or Esik) is carried out in dug-out canoes. These vary in length from 8m to 10m, for the non-motorized and motorized boat respectively (Enin et.al, 1991). The former is propelled by paddles and sails, while the latter uses outboard engines ranging from 8 to 55 horse power (HP). The number of fishermen per canoe varies from 2-3 and scarcely 4 to 5 crew onboard. The number of nets per canoe varies from 20-25, sometimes as many as 40 nets per boat. Usually, the nets are fixed facing tidal currents with an anchor attached to a converging quadruple rope tied to the four edges of the net mouth. Fixed net being submerged is located by the presence of a surface floater connected to the bottom anchor. Hauling of the nets is done 4hours post fixing.
N. hastatus dominate the catches of the conical bag net, constituting over 80% of the catch composition.
For coastal shrimping, catch varies according to season. Catch rates peak in the rainy season. Out of the total number of fishermen interviewed who engage in coastal shrimping using conical bag net, 60% reported good catches in the rainy season. Forty percent (40%) of the respondents said their catches are better in the dry season instead. The rainy season catches peak in August-October. The case was different for local fisherfolks who operate in the creeks and swamps in terms of seasonality in shrimp catch rates. While 50% of the respondents said their peak period of catch is the rainy season, 50% mentioned dry season. CEHRD researchers did not verify the divergent and inconsistent claims. The primary reason being that field sampling took place in the rainy months of August-October. Lack of dry season catch data deliverable from the field hinders our comparative analysis. However, Enin et al (1991) studied N. hastatus fishery in the outer estuarine region of Cross River, Nigeria and reported that catch rates rose to a major peak between March and June i.e. end of dry season and early rainy season. They also reported a secondary peak in October/November-transitional period between rainy and dry season. According to their findings (Enin et.al, 1991), the poorest catch rates obtained in the middle rainy months of July to September. Nwosu and Holzlohner (2004) studied Lunar and seasonal variations in the catches of macrobranchium fishery in the Cross River Estuary and reported two maxima in May – July and November-December.
PERCENTAGE SHRIMP FISHERS.
No fishing settlements visited in the course of this study were homogenously shrimping communities or entirely specialized fishery centres. The fisherfolks were an admixture with regard to their fishery specialty. The relative percent of shrimp fishers vis a-vis other fisheries undertaken ranged from 16.7% to 67%. There was also an observed trend of more shrimp fisherfolks in coastal settlements than in centres located on creek banks and swamplands.
Both males and females take part in small scale shrimp fishing. Womenfolks dominate swamp and creek fisheries. Operating singly in paddle propelled canoes, women harvest shrimp in the wild using woven traps and baskets. Interestingly, in Zarama community in Bayelsa state, shrimping in the creek waters is more or less a preserve of women with scarcely any man taking part in the fishery. The women fisherfolks specialize in harvesting macrobranchium and P. notialis in the creeks. Referring to the juvenile component of their catch as crayfish and adult stocks as lobsters, the Zarama fisherwomen revealed to CEHRD researchers that bycatch incidence is absolutely zero for small funnel-entrance traps set to capture juvenile prawns. But CEHRD is yet to verify this claim. On the other hand, only men engage in coastal shrimping which employs fixed bag net due to strong wave actions. Shrimping in major rivers and their adjoining creeks is done by both fishermen and women, oftentimes, dominated by the female folks. An illustration of this fact is the relative number of women to men from Pupugbene community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State. Sixty percent of the local shrimpers are women with only forty percent male fishers. These fisherfolks operate along the lower reaches of river Forcados.
The incidental capture of non-target fish species and other organisms during shrimping is not completely absent in the small scale sector, but very minimal. CEHRD researchers numerically measured between 2% to 6% bycatch rates during field investigation. The composition of bycatch observed ranged from jellyfishes to finfish and occasionally gastropod molluscs. Bycatch composition and ranking in coastal shrimp fisheries are as follows.
(a) Croakers Pseudotolithus elongates, P. senegalensis and P. typus (dominant)
(b) Puffer fish Ephiphion guttifer (very abundant)
(c) Hairtail Trichurus lepturus (dominant)
(d) Swimming crab Callinectis sp (abundant)
(e) Short spine African anglerfish Lophius vaillant (Common)
(f) Atlantic bumper Chloroscombrus chrysurus (rare)
Other incidental fishes that occur occasionally in catches are:
Pomadasys jubelini (sompat grunt)
Galeodes decadactylus (lesser African thread fin)
Compositions of bycatch observed in creek catches include:
(a) Goboides ansorgei (gobid)
(b) Eleotris daganensis (gobid)
(c) Pachymelania aurata (periwnikle)
(d) Tympanotonus fuscatus (periwnikle)
Presence of the gastropod molluscs (periwnkle) as bycatch may be surprising since periwinkle distribution is limited to the intertidal region where it is flooded and exposed intermittently. But the underlying reason is that pushnet (plate 44) used by the fisherfolks (women) is often dragged along the edges of low-water marks. Operation of the gear extends to intertidal area as flood waters creeps upward for inundation.
Bycatch composition may vary with regard to their relative number. But certain species such as the croakers and hairtail (Trichurus lepturus) are consistently prominent bycatches. Local fishermen in Mbe Ndoro, Akwa Ibom state reported that the capture or mere sight of hairtail fish at the fishing ground indicates huge shrimp population and good catch. This observation by the local fisherfolks confirms the report of Pauly and Neal (1985). They asserted that hairtails generally co-occur with shrimp and have been included among fishes said to be shrimp indicators.
Artisanal bycatch fish are consumed by the fisherfolks themselves and their households or by the households of fish mongers. Finfishes and crabs above 10cm and 7cm respectively are selectively removed at sea by the crew for their own use. Bycatches below the above lengths are left unsorted from the bulk of shrimp. Leftover bycatch is further sorted out at landing site by the buyers, part of which is retained for consumption while the less useful juvenile individuals are discarded on the sandy beach (Plate18). Jettisoned bycatch attracts a lot of flies that invade the site, having been attracted by the stench of the rottuning carcasses. But before long, tidal flooding covers the discards, which are often carried to the sea by ebb tide. CEHRD pointed to the fishmongers the
health implications of their unsanitary behaviour-discading unused bycatch in the same environment where their marketing activities take place.
Generally, sea turtle is hardly caught in the fixed bag net except moribund individuals, unable to swim out.
Apart from the fisherfolks themselves, a lot of the local people benefit from shrimp fishery. And this sector has sustained rural economies for ages.
Shrimping in creeks and rivers by a single fisher/boat is undertaken between 5-6 days in a week. Low catch ranges from half to two basins per day. High catch rates hover between 3 and 4 basins/day. This gives a minimum average catch rate of 1.25 basin/day and an average maxima, 3.5 basin/day. A basin of shrimp or prawn is sold between
N1500-N3000 (average = N2250). This means that local shrimp
fishers operating in the creeks and rivers make between N2, 813 and N7, 875 per
day. As noted earlier, coastal shrimping for N. hastatus involves 3-4-
crew/boat using unmotorised and motorized boats respectively. Their catches
range from 1-12 basins (baskets/day (average catch =6.5 baskets).
Sales price in this sector is equivalent to those of the inland fishery. Thus, each “Nkoto” shrimp boat sells an average of fourteen thousand six hundred and twenty five naira (N14, 625) daily.
To get the Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE), we have to divide catch in basins/no. of fishermen/boat. Using the average catch rates (6.5 basins/boat), CPUE becomes 2.2 basins/fisherman/boat for a 3-man crew and 1.6 basin/person/boat for a 4-man crew.
Ideally, it is expected that each Nkoto net operator would earn between N3600 –N4950/day. However, motorized boat requires fueling and sharing of income is practically based on ones role in the boat and also ownership. The owner of the business takes the lion share followed by the senior operator on board down the hierarchy.
Landing and purchase of shrimp by mongers or mammies is more organized in the coastal set up. Buyers assemble at localized site in about 30 minutes before landing. Assemblage of the mongers is synchronized with tide. CEHRD’S researchers observed that the boats do not touch ground when the buyers will wade through the swashing waters to carry basket-load of shrimp (plates 7, 8, 16, and 20). Carriage is mostly done by two persons. On arriving the shore, the mongers evacuate the shrimp unto the sandy beach. This occurs in steady stream until the catch is completed evacuated from the boats. Sorting of bycatch for consumption and discards follow suite. The shrimp is usually processed by drying with firewood underneath kitchen kiln. Other buyers come to buy the shrimp in dried form and sell in markets within the area and in the hinterland.
INDUSTRIAL SHRIMP FISHERIES
Currently a total of one hundred and seventy three trawlers are licensed to trawl for shrimp in Nigeria. Licensing by the Federal Department of Fisheries is based on specifications of the Sea Fisheries decree 71 of 1992 (now Sea Fisheries Act). Presently, (as at November 2006) 140 of the licensed vessels are still functional while 13 vessels are no longer in operation.
Only the other hand, only 22 licensed vessels are trawling for fish (finfish) in Nigeria. These vessels are owned by 19 companies which are joint-ventures. All are grouped within a “Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA).” Atlantic shrimpers Limited (ASL) owns Seventy seven (77) of the 173 shrimp vessels. This means ASL owns 44.5% of the shrimp fleets. Next in ranking to ASL is ORC fishing and food processing limited, having 14 vessels (10 functional and 4 non-functional) followed by Jophil fisheries Nigeria limited, Seagold fisheries Nigeria limited, Harvest fisheries limited and Olokun Pisces Nigeria limited with 10, 10, 9, and 8 vessels respectively. The remaining 43 fleets belong to thirteen other companies.
The Sea fisheries Decree No. 71 of 1992 requires that all shrimp trawl codend should not exceed 44mm mesh size. The law also recommends that the ratio of fish: prawns should be maintained at 75:25. In practice this is never maintained and more fish (as high as 90% fish), relative to prawns are caught.
The huge bycatch rate has resulted in the evolution of a thriving trade in byproducts. About 100,000 tons of bycatch fish are produced annually from the industrial sector. This is about 25% of the total annual fish produced in Nigeria which is estimated at 400,000 MT. Bycatch thus, supports an estimated 12 billion Naira industriy in the coastal states in Nigeria. At sea, shrimp trawlers freeze the valuable catch-referred to as the cruise targets. Excess of cruise target and fish bycatch is traded at sea through a system where motorized artisanal canoes buy the fish and transport it to shore where it is processed and marketed. Bycatch trading at sea is illegal in the context of the sea fisheries regulations. The latter stipulates thus “all fish caught by a motor fishing boat within Nigeria’s territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone shall be landed at a Nigerian port”, and that “it shall be an offence to catch, land, retain, sell, expose or offer for sale or be in possession for the purpose of sale of seafish of any description being fish of smaller size than such size as may be prescribed in relation to sea fish of that description.
CEHRD’S investigation via interaction with the bycatch traders reveals that the trade in byproduct was borne out of food shortage. The trade started when trawler crew exhausted their food stuff while shrimping and had to approach artisanal fisherfolks for mutual bargaining. That is, exchanging bycatch fish for food. Beyond this starvation driven encounter, a broader and sustained negotiation ensued between trawler operators and artisanal fisherfolks and ushered in the present era of selling the byproducts for money. Bycatch sales intensified when target shrimp (P. notialis) catch rates dropped and cruise targets were rarely attained within specified shrimping duration. In other words, as trawlers spend longer days on sea to catch cruise targets of management, more money is expended on fueling the boat and for feeding of the crew. For instance, before now fleets spend a maximum of two weeks on sea and return to base. The fishery has dwindled so much so that vessels spend up to 45 days fishing. The above ugly scenario midwives a situation whereby management of companies subscribes to on- the- sea sales of byproducts to augment costs.
The bycatch transaction began at a time when some local fisherfolks had had diminished interest in fishing because of catch reduction. The new offer of buying and selling of bycatch fishes requires less time and minimal energy expense vis-à-vis the high energy dependent and unpredictable catches that characterize their conventional fishing. So, the trade in byproduct was heartily embraced by some seemingly frustrated fisherfolks who were so swift in mobilizing themselves into marketing unions.
To reduce the number of beneficiaries, bycatch trade associations formulated discouraging entry requirements to forestall the number of would-be members. Today the leadership of bycatch traders’ unions has succeeded in penetrating the management of the shrimp companies and secured official approval of the business.
The dominant families representing bycatch fish are clupeidae (mostly illisha africana, the West African illisha), Pomadasyidae (threadfins especially polydactylus quidrifilis). Others include members of the Ophichthidae, Soleadae, rajidae, mobulidae. Members of the family Ophichthidae dominate bycatch of trawlers operating in deep oceanic waters.
In Nigeria, bycatch is called “Yamayama”, which in local parlance means wasteful products. Only certified traders are allowed access to the trawlers on sea. They buy in turns. Yamayama (bycatch) is an admixture of both shrimp and small fishes.
Bycatch fish are usually iced onboard vessels. More ice blocks are also given to the traders to sustain fish quality-prevent fish spoilage-during transportation from offshore to landing (marketing) sites. Once landed, bycatch is sold to fish mongers who sort them (bycatch) into categories, followed by smoking. Bycatch is also sold fresh in coastal markets. Indeed a lot of people in coastal communities eke out a living from bycatch trade. It is also a major source of income for trawler crew and provides unsustainable remedy to animal protein in- security of local people. The negative side of this practice is that shrimp trawlers now aim to catch as much incidental fish as possible, more often, in shallow waters where the multitude of species congregate. More over, trawlers opt for unauthorized mesh size to catch more bycatch and make more money.
Apart from destabilizing ecologically sensitive and biodiversity shallow waters, trawling to catch huge bycatch will further pauperize, on a larger scale, rural communities whose livelihood depends on fishing. Demersal fish stocks will dwindle inshore, leading to absolute collapse of the fishery.
When CEHRD researchers asked if the byproducts marketers would be willing to abandon the business if eventually government disbands it, the general response was negative. “The life of my family depends on this trade. If it stops, how will
my family and I survive; what about my children’s schooling; who bears the burden?”, one of the traders roars to CEHRD investigators. However, significant number of the byproduct dealers indicated their willingness to revert to artisanal fishing should the trade in bycatch is disbanded. One condition is attached to this submission: provision of subsidized fishing gear and basic social amenities like portable water which are totally lacking in the fishing settlements.
Generally, majority of the rural fisherfolks in Nigeria do not know the limit to which they can operate. Fisheries laws and policies exist on paper, oftentimes, without the knowledge of the illiterate fishers. Our field investigation reveals that 90% of the rural people involved in small scale shrimp fishing had no taste of western education. Eight percent (8%) of the fisherfolks had primary education while just a menial two percent of those interviewed are graduates of secondary school. Consequently, local fisherfolks do not have any knowledge of 5- nautical
In Nigeria, bycatch is called “Yamayama”, which in local parlance means wasteful products. Only certified traders are allowed access to the trawlers on sea. They buy in turns. Yamayama (bycatch) is an admixture of both shrimp and small fishes.
miles as their fishing limit. Rather local fishermen operating along the coast are naturally impeded from fishing beyond the above limit by turbulent waves. With the desire to catch many incidental fish to sell and make more money, trawler captains trawl within the 5 nautical miles meant for the artisanals. In the process, the latter fishing gears are destroyed. Other hazards associated with illegal shrimping in the non-trawling zone include ramming of boats, destruction of fishing grounds by trawling, etc.
The presence of local fishers (whether using motorized or unmotorrized boats) and trawlers on the same fishing ground erupts in conflicts between the both parties which may turn out to be violent. Local shrimp fisherfolks from Oyorokoto, Rivers State told CEHRD investigators that they have succeeded in sending away two fleets off the mouth of Andoni River. The crew were predominantly Chinese. Other attempts to send boats having many Nigerians onboard resulted in gunshots at the artisanals, reported one of those interviewed. From our independent findings, trawler operators hiding under the cover of pirate and militant disturbances in the Niger Delta, hire state security apparatus on board vessels. Security operatives and crew enter into dubious agreements which foster trawling in disapprove territories such as the month of estuaries. Presence of the security operatives coupled with the weapons in their possession instills fear into would-be local agitators for the fishing rights of the artisanals.
On the other hand trawl captains alledged that artisanals tended to approach areas where trawl vessels congregate. Perhaps, due to the impression that such spots support good catch. Though CEHRD have not verified the veracity of the above claim, it is also apparently convenient to argue that the non-sophistry of gear and boat, which characterize the artisanal sector technically confines their operations to the coastal edges.
A two-day stakeholders’ workshop was also organized by CEHRD. The workshop had “shrimp catch data transparency and bycatch reduction” as its theme. Those who participated in the forum include government officials, representation of the Nigeria Trawler Owners Association (NTOA), artisanal fishermen and women who engaged in shrimp fisheries, members of the academia, and the press. Artisanal fisherfolks who took part in the workshop deliberations were drawn from shrimp centers earlier visited in the five coastal states covered by this project. We were gender sensitive in selecting fisher attendees of the workshop.
The workshop was declared open by the Hon. Commissioner for Agriculture in Rivers state ably represented by the Director of fisheries in the state ministry of Agriculture.
Thereafter, a keynote address was presented by CEHRD’S head of conservation (see annex 1). The opening session was followed by technical sessions during which papers (see annexes 2, 3) on core areas were presented by two shrimp experts. Debates, discussions, dialogue, experience sharing etc, characterized the workshop proceedings. At the end, a communiqué was signed and issued by the participants. The communiqué was made available to the media and accordingly published in some dailies (see Newspaper clips attached).
In our view, training local fisherfolks on pertinent areas like fishing boundaries, the need to abandon destructive fishing practices, the usefulness of allowing researchers and officials from the federal and state department of fisheries to assess their landed stocks, etc, is a good basis for follow-up activities. CEHRD also recommend that discard fish should be utilized in the production of fish meal instead of being thrown over board or abandoned on shore lines as observed in Plate 18.
1) Amadi, A.A. (1991). The Coastal and Marine Environment of Nigeria a – Aspects of Ecology and Management. NIOMR Technical paper No. 76
2) Enin, U.I; U. Lawenbery and T. Kunzel (1991). The Nematopalaemon hastatus (estuarine prawn) fishery in the outer estuarine region of the Cross River Nigeria. Arch. Fischwiss. 41 (1) 67-88
3) Ibe, C. (ed.) (1998). Coastal profile of Nigeria. UNIDO/UNDP-GEF. 74P.
4) Nwosu, F.M. and S. Holzlohmer (2004). Lunar and Seasonal variations in the catches of Macrobranchion fishery of the Cross River Estuary, S.E. Nigeria. Indian hydrobiology, 7(1&2),177-181
5) Pauly, D. and Neal R. 1985. Shrimp vs. fish in Southeast Asian fisheries: The biological, technological and social problems. In YANEZ-ARANUBIA, A. (ed.): Recursis Pesqueros potenciaels de Mecico. La Pesca Acompanande del Cameron. Progr. Univ. de Atumentos, inst. Cienc. Del Mary Limnol, Inst. Nal. de Pesca. UNAM, Mexico D.F. PP 487-510.
6) Powell, C.B. (1982). Fresh and brackish water Shrimps of Econimic importance in the Niger Delta. In proceedings of the 2nd Annual conference of the fisheries society of Nigeria held at Calabar, 24-27- January 1982
7) Schneider, W. (1990). Field Guide to the commercial Marine Resources of the Gulf of Guinea, FAO, Rome.
8) Yakubu, A. F; Sikoki, F.D. and Horsfall, Jr. M. (1998). An investigation into the physicochemical conditions and planktonic organisms of the lower Reaches of the Nun River, Nigeria. J Appl. Sc. Environ. Mgt. Vol. 1, No. 1, 38-42.
Good research also I did like this in Rufiji delta Tanzania but I look for small scale fishers and post harvestReplyDelete