Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
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Oil pollution constitutes a threat to fishing and livelihood of small?scale fishers living on various marine biotopes in Nigeria,
particularly the Niger Delta region, which are often locations of massive oil deposits. The socio-economic consequence
of endemic oil pollution in this region was investigated. The study collected information from 250 small-scale fisherfolks in
two communities using the semi-structured interviews contrasted with field observations. Data collected was analyzed by use
of the descriptive statistical tools as well as chi square correlation coefficient and regression analysis. The results show that
damages to fishing equipment, tainting and contamination of fin-fish, shell fish and farmlands, result in economic losses and
health problems among the fishers. These problems are complicated by lack of alternative livelihood among them which result
mainly in persistent poverty. This poverty in turn, can be traced to low education and absence of skills (apart from artisan
fishing) and massive corruption among their leaders. For these fishers to exist, they now imbibe various negative activities,
such as bunking, vandalism, kidnapping, smuggling and gun running. The paper concludes that endemic oil pollution has
devastating effects on small-scale fishers by destroying their principal sources of protein, resulting in health and livelihood
problems. There is need for government with all other stakeholders to take appropriate measures to restore all the ecosystems
of oil producing areas as an essential precursor to poverty elevation in these areas.
O A Olopade obtained a PhD degree in Fisheries Management in 2002 from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Animal
Science and Fisheries, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He has authored over 40 peer reviewed publications including original research papers and review
articles in various local and international journals. His current research focuses on human dimensions in fisheries.
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