Fishing Net Gains Nigeria (F-NGN). A name uniquely coined to portray our nation’s economy. How does fishing net gain Nigeria?
When you cast your net, you do that with anticipation – to get a catch that will ‘gain’ you. In the process of gaining, what does the environment get? Your GARBAGE – lost, abandoned fishing gears, plastics etc.
When I first came on board, my anticipation was basically to gain experience on stuffs like this (community service/engagement). What I’ve been engaged in so far, although just a tip of the iceberg, is mind-blowing!
I’ve gone on several trips with my team to get information on artisanal fishers, their activities and its impact on the environment. What baffles me mostly is that, these artisanal fishers do not know the level of their actions on the environment. We’ve been to fishing communities at the shoreline of Ibeno, Ibaka and Ikot Abasi. All three (3) communities are unarguably faced with a common problem – GHOST GEARS. Some (fishermen) with basic knowledge of environmental sanitation burn theirs, others couldn’t care less.
F-NGN has exposed me to the loud, yet silent problem we face, yes we, not just the marine life. Indiscriminate dumping of non-biodegradable waste into water bodies have a way of getting back at us directly or indirectly. You can’t dodge it.
The fact that the bulk of primary data needed for this project is unavailable, is very challenging. Going-out to gather this is very tasking physically, psychologically, even emotionally It breaks my heart to hear a fisherman say he’s dumping his non-usable fishing net into the ocean has no effect on marine life. From this, it’s obvious we have a great task to do. First and foremost, that is an attitude problem and ACT-E comes in.
Our mandate – Attitudinal Change Towards the Environment needs to be spread like a gospel. It all begins with the mind.
In the future:
- We hope to educate the artisanal fishermen on the need to fish sustainably.
- Educate them on proper fishing methods / techniques, waste disposal and recycling.
Our waters have life, if you choke it, it will die; and if it dies it becomes useless; and if it becomes useless, your net doesn’t gain you…
We sure want our nets to gain us!