Assessment of fishing gear and catch rate in Oguta Lake, south Eastern Nigeria
This study was carried out in Oguta Lake, Imo State, Nigeria, from January, 2012 to December, 2013 at five stations (Onu Utu, Okposha, Ogbe Hausa, Osemotor and Ede Ngwugwu) to ascertain the percentage abundance and catch rate of gear and craft. The average weight of fish caught per canoe per day ranged between 3.2 kg for Basket and Drum traps to 47.1 kg for boat seine net. The gill nets ranged between 6.0 to 13.0kg per canoe per day with mean weight of 8.60±2.91kg, the cast net had values ranging from 1.0 to 7.0 kg with a mean weight of 4.3±2.49 kg. Lift net yielded an average of 3.4 kg per canoe per day. Gill nets were the main gear used by fishers, followed by long lines and cast nets at the lake. It is important to locate all the fishers operating in the lake and daily record of catches be collected for a more accurate picture of the total catch and fish species. Mesh size regulation prevent over exploitation of young fish, before they attain sexual maturity. It is recommended that the cost of procuring fishing inputs such as fishing gear and crafts and safety kits should be monitored by government and be subsidized for the fishers.
Key words: drum trap, crafts, catch, exploitation, Oguta, mesh size, trap