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Investigations of inland fisheries in Nigeria, including those of wetlands, come under the mandate of the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR), formerly Kainji Lake Research Project. During the project phase (1968–1975) (jointly sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the FAO) research concentrated on fish populations of the new Kainji Reservoir on the Niger River. With the phasing out of the Kainji project, a multi-disciplinary Research Institute (Kainji Lake Research Institute) was created with research disciplines similar to those of the Project (i.e. Fisheries, Limnology, Wildlife and Range Ecology, Agriculture, Public Health and Socio-Economic Studies) but with an expanded mandate for fisheries, covering major lakes and rivers in Nigeria.

In 1990, the Nigerian Man and Biosphere Committee organised a State of Knowledge Workshop on Nigerian wetlands, which in a broad sense include floodplains, lakes, reservoirs and swamps. Among the contributions to the Workshop are those of Moses (1990) on The distribution, ecology and fisheries potentials of Nigerian wetlands; Powell (1990) on The ecological effects of human activities on the value and resources of Nigerian wetlands; Kinako (1990) on The structure and function of some Nigerian wetland ecosystems; Verinumbe (1990) on Wetlands in the Sahelian north-eastern Nigeria and Okafor (1990) on Soils of some Nigerian Savanna and Forest Wetlands. Other information on wetlands is limited to the impact of dams on downstream floodplain fisheries (Lelek and El-Zarka, 1971 and Adeniyi, 1973) and fish culture possibilities on floodplains of the Niger-Benue drainage system (Awachie, 1976). Studies on the fisheries of the internationally protected Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands were recently commissioned (Matthes, 1990).

This publication collates the existing information on the fishery resources of Nigerian inland fisheries, including fish species diversity. One chapter focuses on river management and conservation, showing the importance of traditional fishery management. Aquaculture development and potential are also briefly discussed. Environmental degradation through intensification of agriculture, especially the use of agrochemicals, is looked at from the point of view of its impact on fish. The review also assesses the future needs for fishery research and development.

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