SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF SPORT FISHERIES FOR COMMUNITIES AROUND NIGER RIVER
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Locally based sport fisheries on the River Niger have the potential to provide stable alternative livelihoods for poor coastal villagers. The industry would provide new income to improve food security, and build community resilience to external impacts such as climate change and fluctuations in commodity prices (McCully, 2000). This study will conduct the research needed to underpin the development of a sustainable and resilient locally based sport-fishing industry. It will examine the ecology and biology of sport-fish resources and devise protocols to maximize long-term industry viability. It will also investigate potential livelihood costs and benefits and determine the commercialization needs of a sport-fishing industry on the River Niger. Development of sport fishing would not only provide communities around the River Niger with income opportunities, but also bring benefits of conserving vital fisheries resources, by converting unsustainable capture fisheries into viable release fisheries; providing the incentive and knowledge to support ecosystem health and resilience; and supporting extensive capacity building across fisheries research, business and tourism (Gislason, 1998).
Recreational fishing, also called sport fishing, is fishing for pleasure or competition. It can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is fishing for profit, or subsistence fishing, which is fishing for survival (Wikipedia, 2015). The most common form of sport fishing is done with a rod, reel, line, hooks and any one of a wide range of baits. Other devices, commonly referred to as terminal tackle, are also used to affect or complement the presentation of the bait to the targeted fish. Some examples of terminal tackle include weights, floats, and swivels. Lures are frequently used in place of bait. Some hobbyists make handmade tackle themselves, including plastic lures and artificial flies. The practice of catching or attempting to catch fish with a hook is known as angling. Big-game fishing is conducted from boats to catch large open-water species such as tuna, sharks and marlin. According to Horne (2005), noodling and trout tickling are also recreational activities.
The Niger River support a wide variety of quality recreational angling opportunities for tens of thousands of residents of the river bank and visitors alike. The diversity of opportunities reflects the large numbers of species available and the varied geographic features of the area around the river including its topography and climate (Herd, 2003). Freshwater angling is an integral part of Nigerian culture and heritage as observed in the case of Argungun festival which is also a sport fishing festival. Sport fishing can be enjoyed at any age, provides an escape from the stresses of modern life, and provides an opportunity to connect with family and friends through shared outdoor experiences.
Sport fishing methods vary according to the area fished, the species targeted, the personal strategies of the angler, and the resources available. It ranges from the aristocratic art of fly fishing to the high-tech methods used to chase marlin and tuna. Sport fishing is usually done with hook, line, rod and reel rather than with nets or other aids. Even sports fisherman discard a lot of non-target and target fish on the bank while fishing. However, Niger River has been considered by the researcher as a good ground for sport fishing in order to boost the economy of the coastal communities.
In North America, freshwater fish include snook, redfish, salmon, trout, bass, pike, catfish, walleye and muskellunge. The smallest fish are called panfish, because they can fit whole in a normal cooking pan (Wikipedia, 2015). Examples are perch and sunfish. In the past, sport fishers, even if they did not eat their catch, almost always killed them to bring them to shore to be weighed or for preservation as trophies. In order to protect recreational fisheries sport fishermen now often catch and release, and sometimes tag and release, which involves fitting the fish with identity tags, recording vital statistics, and sending a record to a government agency.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Sport fishing is not just an enjoyable pastime but it is an important engine of the economy in many regions. This notwithstanding, the sector is little known and little appreciated in African countries like Nigeria. A major reason for the sector’s lack of profile is the lack of accessible information on the sport fishery’s economic dimensions and importance. The economic importance of the fishery is not well understood and, to a large extent, the industry is getting eclipsed by other business sectors that can more coherently demonstrate their stature. However, the researcher is out to examine the sustainable management of sport fisheries for communities around Niger River.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the level of practice of sport fishing in Nigeria.
- To examine the prospects of sport fishing in Nigeria.
- To evaluate the process of sustainable management of sport fisheries for communities around the Niger River.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the level of practice of sport fisheries in Nigeria?
- What are the prospects of sport fisheries in Nigeria?
- What is the process of sustainable management of sport fisheries for communities around the Niger River?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will be useful for stakeholders in agricultural sector, sport sector and the general public on the economic benefits the nation stands to derive from sport fishing if properly managed especially in the coastal communities of Niger River.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the rudiments of sport fisheries and how it can be adopted in the coastal communities of Niger River.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Gislason, Gordon. (1998). “The Angling Guide Industry in the Skeena Watershed – An Assessment of Business Issues”, Prepared for BC Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks, Victoria BC, February 1998.
Horne, Gary. (2005). “British Columbia Economic Multipliers and How to Use Them”, BC Stats, October 2005.
Herd, Andrew (2003) The Fly. Medlar Press. ISBN 978-1-899600-29-8
McCully C. B. (2000). The Language of Fly-Fishing. Taylor & Francis. p. 41.