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APPLICATION OF GIS TECHNIQUE TO SITE SELECTION FOR AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE COASTAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
Aquaculture is one of the world’s fastest growing production sectors, bringing with its great potential for food supply and poverty alleviation. It is a deliberate culture in water of economically important fin fishes, shell fishes, aquatic plants and other organisms for food, recreational, ornamental or scientific/educational purpose (King and Jonathan, 2003). Landing from worldwide aquaculture have been increasing rapidly in the last decade, approximately 10-15 percent per year (Hossain and Das, 2012). According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2010), total aquaculture in 1996 was 26.7 million tonnes, and in 2008 increased to 52.5 million tonnes. The world aquaculture production was 66.63 million tonnes for food fish in 2012 (FAO, 2013). The rapid growth was due to combined effects of an increasing world population and decreasing catches from artisanal fisheries (Caddy and Griffiths1995;Pauly 2002; Hossain and Das 2012).
Nigeria owns significance fisheries with a coastline of 853 kilometer which borders the Gulf of Guinea. The territorial sea is 12 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the continental shelf is narrow and covers a total area of 41,000 square kilometer (Essen, 2000). The government has recognized fishery as a means to achieve food security, export earnings and poverty alleviation. According to Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Agriculture (MOA, 2013), the country’s fisheries production estimate was 600,000 million tonnesand aquaculture production in Nigeria was 25,000-30,000 tonnes.As presented byMOA (2010), fish supply in Akwa Ibom State was 297,000 million tonnes in 2009 thereby clearly portraying the zone as contributing enormously to domestic fish production in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom State being one of the maritime States in the country has estimated coastline of 129kilometres (Essen, 2000). The abundant inshore/coastal waters coupled with numerous rivers, mangrove, swamps, creeks, flood plains, lake and reservoirs provide suitable environment for the production of abundant fish and fishery products.The wetlands that abound in the coastal region in the state are highly under-utilized and under-developed for fish production and thus justified the development of aquaculture in this region.
Aquaculture is relatively a new areaof agriculture to the coastal local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, and it is at its developmental stage.However, because of perturbation and degradation of the marine and coastal ecosystems in this region, catches from the industrial and artisan fisheries sub-sector are dwindling gradually. This fishing pressure often increases to unsustainable status due to increasing human population, demand, improved and diversified fishing gears and motorization of fishing vessels.There is a real need for the coastal local government areas of Akwa Ibom State to embrace aquaculture and encourage more investments in fish production and cultivation to meet up with the global demand.The aquaculture potentials of the study area have not undergone the degree of development that one would have expected, considering the available potentials (King and Jonathan, 2003). At present, there are 45 fish farms in the study area, 8 are non-functional and have been abandoned; and 8 achieve yields well below their potential (MOA, 2014). The state fisheries statistic shows that production capacity of fisheries in this sector is 321.42 mt annually (MOA, 2013).
It is very imperative to stress here that, many interested or prospective farmers need adequate information or tuition in optimizing site selection for aquaculture development to which this research has been carried to address for the next days. The nutritional value of fish to mankind cannot be quantified as micro nutrients and biochemical in fish have linked to good health longevity and mitigation of high cardiac vascular mortality caused by cholesterol (king and Jonathan, 2003). The realistic way of supplying more food protein is to increase fish production through the development of aquaculture; this is because of the projected decline in the world capture fisheries over the next few decades (FAO, 2013).
The State Department of Fisheries recognizes the fact that insufficient baseline information on the magnitude and dynamics of fish resources; and suitable sites for aquaculture development has weakened the sector planning and management (MOA, 2014). Geographic Information System (GIS) as a combination of computer hardware and specialized software to store, manipulate and analyze data of diverse kinds with a common geographic base has been of good technical support in evaluating land characteristics and performance when used for a specified purpose.It can also be used to predict the attributes of a specified site or to locate all sites with specified attributes.The purpose of Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) techniques is to investigate a number of alternatives in the light of multiple criteria and conflicting objectives.It is a technique used to compare scenarios in order to choose the best out of it after undergoing series of comparism, evaluation and ranking (Hossain and Das, 2012).
The integration of MCE within GIS context could help to improve decision making processes. In the last decade MCE has received renew attention in the context of a GIS based decision making (Hossain, Chowdhury, Das, Sharifuzzaman and Sultana, 2009). That combination could be useful in solving conflictive situations for individual or groups interested in spatial context and it is also a powerful approach to site suitability assessment (Joerin, Theriault and Mussy, 2001). The accurate identification, measurement, and the characterization of the sites for potential aquaculture development are essential, as aquaculture is one of the most important activities of natural system use. This use must be done only in suitable areas for an economic development. Through MCE and GIS combination, reporting can be in the form of tabular data, graphic and most importantly map or set of suitability maps could be generated.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study was designed to select suitable site for aquaculture development in the coastal local government areas of Akwa Ibom State. High productivity in any business is not based on ideas, but also on tools of implementation of ideas (Mitra and Hangovan, 2004). There are abundant inshore and coastal waters couple with numerous rivers, mangrove, swamps; also creeks, flood plains, lake and reservoirs which provide suitable environment for the production of abundant fish and fishing products in the study area. The wetlands that abound in this region are highly under-utilized and under-developed for fish production and thus justified the development of aquaculture in this region.
There is a real need for the coastal local government areas of Akwa Ibom State to embrace aquaculture and encourage more investment in fish production and cultivation to meet up with the global demand. Many of the farmers originally involved in fish farming constructed their fish ponds without proper technical information from appropriate quarters; consequently, a good number of the ponds failed to produce good results,thus, making those in business abandon them in some regions(MOA, 2014). As emphasized by Essen (2000) and King (2000), about 75 percent of ponds constructed in the study area between 1990 and 1996 have been abandoned and those remaining in operation are achieving yields well below their potential. Pressure on land is on the increase due to urbanization, population growth and industrialization, there is a need then to effectively control the use of the available land.
Moreover, the Accelerated Livestock and Fish Production Programme established by the state government in 2010 whose main focus was to establish 10 fish farm Estates, one in each Federal constituency of the state, as well as 10 community fish farms to produce a total of 5,700 metric tonnes of fish per annum with a total 0f #2.4 billionfor the state economy was poorly implemented due to insufficient database (MOA, 2013). In view of the need to ameliorate these situations, it becomes exigent to carry out this research to assess and identify suitability sites for aquaculture development in the study area using Multi-criteria evaluation technique (MCET) in combination with Geographic Information System