International Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Systems

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Fish Culture Technologies in Cross River State, Nigeria

BO Offem, GU Ikpi, F Ada


Aquaculture has become an important sector in Nigerian economy and is considered a possible means of bridging the gap between the supply and demand for fish whose wild stock is fast declining, especially in the Cross River State of Nigeria. This study was carried out to assess the status, structure, operation and management options of fish culture systems and their significance in the economy of the region. Total number of 287 out of 346 fish culturists, were randomly selected across the three zones of the region. The results showed that the number of operational fishponds in the region was estimated to be 346 with 203 extensive and 105 semi-intensive and 36 intensive fish farms with majority of culturist operating at subsistence level. Common fish cultured in the three zones were Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus longifilis, Heteroclarias, Oreochromis niloticus, Clarias anguillaris and Hemichromis fasciatus. O. niloticus was most common in all zones accounting for 91.6 percent, Heteroclarias culture was practiced only in Zone C. Fish culture in earthen ponds was most common in Zone A and accounted for 40.9%, while most farms (33.3%) in Zone C raised their fish in concrete ponds. Flow through system was more adopted in Zone C constituting 51.9%, while stagnant ponds accounted for 74.2 and 56.8% in zones A and B, respectively. Integrated, monoculture and polyculture systems were observed in the study area, however, only polyculture was common in the three zones, while monoculture was absent (0.0%) in Zone C. Rainfall was the major source of water in Zone A(71.0%), while rivers/streams were the source of water for culturist in Zones B (52.3%) and C (53.3%). However, well water and borehole become the major source of water during the dry season. Most of the culturists were males of ages between 40 years and above with at least secondary school education and had experience in fish culture beyond eleven years. Fish farm activities was carried out mostly on part-time (61.8%) bases with poor fish supervision. Farmers with lowest average annual income (<N1,000,000) were found to be highest in Zone A (79.0%), while large- scale farmers formed a majority (85.7%) in Zone C. Personal savings was the most important source of financing farm operations among fish producers in Zone A(63.8%), while Bank loan constituted the highest (56.3%) source of finance in Zone C. Urgent steps must be taken to make credit available for expansion and sustainability to encourage new entrants especially the unemployed to start the enterprise.

Keywords: Aquaculture, fish culture, ponds, rivers, rainfall, Nigeria

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