Studies On The Atalla Fishery Of The Lower Anambra River, Nigeria

The atalla lift net fishery of the lower Anambra river was investigated from May, 1998 to March, 1999 by sampling commercial fishers' catches and obtaining from fishers information relating to fishing time, catch, income and preservation of catch. The species composition of the total catch showed that there were 40 species of fin fish, two decapod crustaceans and a mollusc. Pellonula leonensis was the most abundant fish species by number and weight followed by Parailia pellucida. P. leonensis and P. pellucida exhibited inverse numerical relationship. The target clupeids and schilbeids constituted over 68% and 55% by number and weight respectively of the overall catch. A total of 23 atalla fishing units operated in the lower Anambra river and over 91% of them were operated by Ijaw migrant fishers. The net of atalla was made up of two ply and 10 mm mesh size or plastic mosquito gauze. The canoe was planked and there was a close relationship between the base of the atalla lift net and the length of the canoe (r2=0.91). The total annual catch was estimated at 155 t excluding the quantity consumed by the fishers' families. Smoking was the main method of preservation. It took 2±0.04 days to dry a batch of elem and smoked fish were packaged in small baskets lined with cement paper. Atalla fishery appeared not to be detrimental to the fisheries of the relatively large-sized fish species and it should be encouraged to harvest the abundant clupeids and schilbeids in the mixed species fishery of the lower Anambra river. Mesh regulation is not relevant in the management of atalla fishery. Key Words: Atalla fishery, catch, species composition, abundance, preservation, Anambra river Bio-Research Vol.2(1) 2004: 82-90

 HMG Ezenwaji