Assessments of fish catch composition of marine artisanal fishery in the Gulf of Guinea, Southwest Nigeria
Fish is a major source of protein in human diets. Fish demand has been on the increase due to increase in human population which has resulted to wide gap between fish demand and supply. This study was carried out to elucidate the major fish species that are economically important in the study area. Assessment of fish catch composition was done in the marine artisanal fish sector of Southwest Nigeria Gulf of Guinea. The study area was divided into three strata with one sampling station selected from each stratum. Four canoes were sampled per site per month. Fish catches were sorted into taxonomic categories, counted, measured and weighed. Sixty-nine fish species from forty-two families were identified constituting fifty-nine finfish and ten shellfish species. Clupeid family had the highest contribution both by weight (40.5%) and abundance (53.7%). Sardinella maderensis was the most abundant species by number (30.6%) and weight (27.9%). Parapenaeopsis atlanticus (51%) was the most abundant shellfish while P. validus (87%) was the highest by weight. Fish production was highest in Station 1 both by weight (37%) and abundance (41%). The status of finfish species showed that five species were very common; four were common, fourteen uncommon and thirty-six rare. Among the shellfish species, three species were very common, none was common, three were uncommon and three species rare. Effective management of these fish resources is necessary to ensure fish food security.
Key words: Artisanal fishery, Gulf of Guinea, species, abundance, Southwest, Nigeria.