Impact of sawmill industry on maritime and riparian environments along selected rivers in Delta State, Nigeria
This study examines the spatial impact of sawmill industry on the maritime and riparian environments along selected rivers in Delta State, Nigeria and the resultant effects on inland fishing activities within the framework of Economic Adaptation theories of Population-Environment (P-E) inter-relationship. Primary data were collected from a questionnaire administered on 150 fishermen selected through an availability sampling technique in three settlements, drawn randomly from eight listed settlements engaged in both sawmill operations and fishing activities along the selected rivers. The questionnaire used for the study covered impact of sawmill operations on the maritime and riparian environments, and the indirect impacts on inland fishing. This was complemented by Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with 15 fishermen in the selected settlements. The study revealed that sawmill operations resulted in the destruction of riparian vegetation, noise and air pollution, acceleration of weeds invasion, destruction of breeding grounds and general degradation of the riparian and maritime environments. These have indirect impact on inland fishing activities manifested in increased distance to points of fishing activity, frequent damages to nets, hooks and lines, decreased output, increased fishing hours and reduced fishing space in the study area. Impact evaluation of sawmill industry vis-à-vis inland fishing activities is recommended for sustainable development of the physical environment and fishing sector.
Keywords: Inland fishing, Sawmill industry, Environmental degradation, Riparian and Maritime environments