Management of inland fisheries in Africa by modern government organisations is severely constrained by a lack of accurate and regularly updated relevant information as a basis for decision-making. The major reasons for this include the difficulties associated with the design and implementation of appropriate fisheries monitoring systems, including a lack of suitable study methodologies and limited funding for this activity. In this paper an account of the design and testing of a 12-month pilot-scale fisheries information monitoring system (FIMS) for major fisheries in North East Nigeria, including Upper River Benue, Lake Chad and the Nguru-Gashua Wetlands. Using a combination of methodologies (catch assessment studies (CAS)/case-studies) and within a pre-determined budget, the pilot FIMS was successfully operated, leading to the production and distribution of four quarterly reports plus data tables, which provide a multi-disciplinary perspective appropriate for fisheries planning. An ex-post evaluation of the pilot FIMS identified a series of key issues relevant to the future design and implementation of a monitoring system in the region including: i) the possibility of using a sampling frame based on fishing households for statistical analysis; ii) the difficulty of attempting to stratify a sampling frame using environmental and gear criteria; iii) the advantage of using a combination of study methodologies, including CAS and case-studies; iv) the high cost and risks of attempting to implement CAS, compared to a more pragmatic, low coast and low risk approach based on a fishery-wide holistic approach using market surveys and key interviews. The paper concludes with an examination of three key issues relating to the future development of a monitoring system: recognition of the importance of monitoring, and appropriate design and the factors which will affect sustainability.
|Place of Publication||Portsmouth|
|Publisher||University of Portsmouth|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|