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IMPROVING RESILIENCE AND ADAPTIVE CAPACITY OF FISHERIES-DEPENDENT COMMUNITIES IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

More than 70% of people living in riverine area including the Nigeria Niger Delta derive most of their basic needs from subsistence fishing and agriculture. However, threats to the ability of small-scale fisheries to continue to provide villagers’ needs are increasing. In Nigeria, the rural sector comprises more than 60% of the population and is heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture and fishing. Subsistence fisheries are dominated by small-scale fisheries in near-shore waters and these are under threat as human populations grow and an increasing need or desire for cash fuels the commercial harvest of marine commodities (Pemeroy et al, 2004). The strong reliance on inshore fish resources to meet subsistence needs, combined with a paucity of income-generating opportunities, means their loss would have severe consequences not only for those directly affected in the rural areas but also for the nation’s economy as a whole.

The concerns that are commonly expressed by rural fishing communities includes stocks of commercially important invertebrates are low; there is a need for money to cope with external shocks (disasters) food price rises with the attendant risk of pressure to harvest fish and other marine commodities to obtain this money; traditional taboo (fishery control) systems have declined or disappeared in some places, and there is a poor understanding of fisheries/resource management issues or national regulations and effect of pollution occasioned by the activities of the oil exploration companies e.g. Shell and Chevron in Nigeria. The commercial value of coastal fisheries in Nigeria is poorly quantified but is recognized as being very important because it allows rural people to meet their needs for cash at critical times or for important costs, such as school fees. Comprising reef and pelagic fish and invertebrates, marketing of reef fish within the community and to nearby urban centres are significant sources of income for some communities.

The export market for dry fishes and other aquatic products has been a main source of income, particularly in coastal communities that are remote from markets for fresh (fish or garden) products (Cohen, 2011). The transition from subsistence to the cash economy exposes people to global market forces. In addition, predicted changes in climatic conditions (sea level rise, frequency and intensity of cyclones) (Brokovich and Schwarz 2011) pose additional threats to coastal communities and reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience and adaptive capacity will be central to their long term quality of life. This study focused on fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria from a vulnerability, adaptive capacity and resilience perspective. Within small scale fisheries that exists in riverine communities, we define resilience and adaptive capacity together as the capacity of a complex system to absorb shocks while still maintaining function, and to reorganize themselves disturbance. However, the goals of management are to prevent the fishery system (the ecosystem plus people) from moving into undesirable states or circumstances, and to nurture and preserve the elements that enable it to renew and reorganize itself following stresses and disturbance (Boro, et al, 2011). Although resilience concepts are attractive and are increasingly widespread in academic literature applying them to the lives and ecosystems of rural communities has yet to be effectively implemented.

Moving beyond theory to action remains the key challenge for resilience approaches. In order to ensure the establishment of more flexible management approaches and thereby improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of fisheries dependent communities to various sources of uncertainty, this study is aimed at testing a generic adaptive management framework (Andrew et al. 2007) and a set of diagnostic tools that feed directly into its application. The framework purpose is to organize the outcome to guide the development of new methods and refine appropriate indicators of sustainability and resilience and adaptive capacity in fisheries dependent communities.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The coastal fisheries in Nigeria provide more than 70% of the protein intake of the nation and if these fisheries were lost or degraded, the impacts on people’s diets and potentially their health would be enormous. Despite the advantages of relatively well defined customary rights to marine resources and the continued influence of traditional institutions on small-scale fisheries management, managing the pressures on coastal reef fisheries is a challenge for local riverine communities. There are relatively few tools and traditions to reconcile the limited capacity of aquatic resources with the rapidly increasing demands made on them. Over the last two decades, various forms of community based management and conservation targets have been implemented in Nigeria with varying degrees of success. Also, a lot of factors including climate change, pollution occasioned from oil spillage has damage the aquatic habitat thereby limiting fisheries activities in the fisheries dependent communities. However, this study seeks to examine ways to improve resilience and adaptive capacity of fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria.

1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The following are the objectives of this study:

1. To examine ways to improve resilience of fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria.

2. To examine ways to improve adaptive capacity of fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria.

3. To identify the factors threatening the sustainability of livelihood in fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria.

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1. What are the ways to improve resilience of fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria?

2.  What are the ways to improve adaptive capacity of fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria?

3. What are the factors threatening the sustainability of livelihood in fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria?

1.5   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The following are the significance of this study:

1.  The outcome of this study will educate the individuals living in the fisheries dependent communities on the ways to improve resilience and adaptive capacity and they will have more knowledge about factors threatening their survival.

2.  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 factors threatening the survival of individual living in fisheries dependent communities in Nigeria and how to improve their resilience and adaptive capacity.

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.

REFERENCES

Andrew, N., Béné, C., Hall, S.J., Allison, E.H., Heck, S. and Ratner, B.D. (2007). Diagnosis and management of small-scale fisheries in developing countries. Fish and Fisheries 8: 227-240.

Boso, D., Bennett, G., Paul, C., Hilly, Z., Schwarz, A. (2011). Livelihoods and Resilience Analysis in Toumoa, Western Province, Solomon Islands. WorldFish Center Unpublished Report. ACIAR, project FIS/2007/116. Brokovich, E. and
Schwarz, A. (2011) Building social and ecological resilience to climate change in Roviana, Solomon Islands: PASAP country activity for the Solomon Islands Unpublished Project Report to Univeristy of Queensland: Climate Change trends and predictions in Solomon Islands.

Cohen, P (2011) Social networks to support learning for improved governance of coastal ecosystems in Solomon Islands. CRISP/SPC/CoE-CRS -JCU, Noumea, 34pp.

Pomeroy, R.S., Parks, J.E. and Watson, L.M. (2004). How is your MPA doing? A guidebook of natural and social indicators for evaluating marine protected areas management effectiveness. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xvi + 216 pp.

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