THE ECONOMICS OF DEVELOPING RESERVOIR AQUACULTURE IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Reservoirs are rarely and or never created for fishery purposes. However, the secondary use of the impounded waters for fisheries is becoming an increasingly important activity, particularly in Nigeria, the region that is purported to have the highest reservoir acreage amongst all continents. Reservoir fish production is also gradually becoming a significant contributor to total inland production, and often provides a relatively affordable source of fresh and good quality animal protein source to many rural communities, as well many livelihood opportunities directly and indirectly (Petr, 2007).
According to Chabjinda (1996), reservoir aquaculture activities in the recent past are also seen as a means of providing alternate livelihood opportunities to people that are displaced by the impoundment. Such livelihoods could entail engagement in capture fisheries and or aquaculture activities such as cage culture. In addition, nations are beginning to take note of the vast reservoir resources that are of a non-perennial nature inthe West Africasub-region for development of culture based fisheries. This development, a low cost community activity, is thought to provide significant subsidiary income to downstream farmers and contribute to their nutrition.
Notably in the region the reservoir fisheries production and management methods, amongst others factors differ widely. The differences in fish yield between reservoirs and/or between countries cannot be easily understood and are unlikely to be determined by individual parameters or characteristics such as the reservoir fish fauna, water quality criteria, hydrological regimes, morphometry, management patterns and so forth (Benchakarn, 2002). However, it is possible that there is a great deal to be learnt from management practices of each country. In view of the increasing importance of reservoir fisheries in the region it was considered appropriate to take stock of the current status thereof, with a view to utilizing this knowledge to develop and or evolve appropriate national and or regional strategies for sustained development of reservoirs fisheries.
Reservoirs that are developed for the purpose of aquaculture are usually divided into three categories, viz. valley type, branch type and plain type, according to the geographic characters of the locations (Hogan, 2004). The valley type is normally constructed in the upper reaches of the river at a high altitude. It often has a high current velocity, high turbidity and a short water retention period, and is mainly used for hydropower generation. The branch type of reservoir is located in hilly areas. It is characterized by a large number of islands and coves inside the reservoir. The plains type of reservoir is usually constructed in the plain areas at low altitudes. It features relatively shallow water and broad basins with an extensive water surface (Hogan, 2004).
The valley type reservoirs have very limited potential for fisheries development mainly due to the high current velocity, high turbidity and short water retention period. Branch and plain type reservoirs are usually built in the middle and lower reaches of rivers at the low altitudes and the environmental conditions of these reservoirs are more or less stable. Also, they are biologically productive. As such, these reservoirs are suitable for fisheries development.
The availability of natural food organisms in reservoirs is the most important basis for fisheries production. Planktonic organisms are the most dominant food organisms in all reservoirs. In many reservoirs, phytoplankton abundance usually ranges between 5-10 mg-1.
Nigeria has a long tradition in managing inland fisheries. In newly constructed reservoirs, fisheries activities usually start immediately after the storage of water. Fisheries development in new reservoirs is also considered to be an effective way to provide new livelihoods to the people displaced during the construction of a reservoir. The economic activities associated with reservoirs include hydropower generation, forestry, fisheries and more recently tourism. This study is examining how Nigeria can key into the reservoir fisheries method considering the economic implications.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Fisheries management practices and their effectiveness differ from one geographical zone to another. All these will result in differences in production level and as such, it is rather difficult to have a clear understanding on the production level of different types of reservoirs and to know its applicability in Nigeria.
Some well managed reservoir of moderate size and conduciveenvironmental Reservoir Fisheries in countries where it has been practiced effectively like China leads to conditions where production is as high as 2 tonnes/ha of fish. Undoubtedly, increased reservoirfisheries production in Nigeriawill contribute significantly to national fish production. However, the exact overall contribution of reservoir fisheries in general to the total fish production is not known.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the process of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria.
To examine the economics of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria.
To identify the limitations of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the process of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria?
What is the economics of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria?
What are the limitations of reservoir aquaculture in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
The outcome of this study will educate on the process and limitations of reservoir aquaculture development in Nigeria with emphasis on its economic implications.
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
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the process of reservoir aquaculture development and its economic implication in terms of construction and profitability.
1.7 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.
Benchakarn, M., 2002.Fish stocking in Ubolratana Reservoir.Annual Report of Ubolratana Fishery Development Unit. National Inland Fisheries Institute, Bangkok.
Chabjinda, K., 1996. Cage culture of channel catfish (Ictaluruspunctatus) in reservoir.Technical Paper No. 40/1996.Inland Fisheries Division, Department of Fisheries, Bangkok.
Hogan, Z.S., 2004.Threatened fishes of the world: PangasianodongigasChevey, 1931 Pangasiidae). Environmental Biology of Fish, 92: 120.
Petr, T. 2007. Intensification of Reservoir Fisheries in Tropical and Subtropical Countries. International Review of Hydrobiology, 79: 131-138.