Economic and Social Analysis of Artisanal Fishermen in Taraba State, Nigeria
Bernadette T. Fregene
Abstract .—Major rivers and flood ponds in Taraba State, Nigeria are important to the livelihood of fishers and their households. But overfishing and destructive fishing practices have occurred in some of the water bodies. This study examined the characteristics of fishing operations, benefits derived from these operations, nonfishing-based sources of livelihood, and the benefits of fishers and community involvement in the management of these water bodies. A multistage sampling method was used to select fishing households for this study. The first stage involved selecting local government areas from the four Taraba State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) zones. Then, fishing households were proportionally selected from the eight local government areas selected in the first stage. A total sample of 200 fishers was used for the study. Qualitative data were obtained from fisheries government agency extension personnel and leaders of the fishing communities through in-depth interviews. Quantitative data were collected through structured questionnaires. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, profit margin analysis, t -test, and analysis of variance. Types of fishing gear used, fish species caught, and benefits derived from fishing, as well as other sources of livelihood, were documented. Taboos and beliefs used by the fishers aimed at preserving the fish species and environment of the water bodies were included in the paper. Result of the profitability analysis showed significant differences in fishers’ incomes based on whether or not the fishers owned an outboard engine, and between ADP zones. The paper recommends that a management process involving multi-stakeholders should be implemented to better attain sustainable livelihoods for fishers and food security.