This Nigerian Researcher Studies The ‘Hidden Harvests’ Of Small-Scale Fisheries

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With World Fisheries Day coming up on November 21, Nigerian researcher Kafayat Adetoun Fakoya is one of a huge number of scientists studying some of the world’s smallest fishing industries, which, collectively, have a big impact.

Fakoya, who now teaches at the Department of Fisheries, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, Nigeria and is the Executive Secretary of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society, says she is one of one of the four case study researchers in the Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) projects in Nigeria’s small –scale fisheries and as the National Gender Advisor anchored the IHH Gender Theme.

Although small-scale fisheries provide livelihoods for millions, essential nutrition to billions and contribute substantially to household, local and national economies and economic growth, existing scholarly works have paid little or no attention to the problems small-scale fisheries encounter within the context of food and nutritional security.

Why Data Matters

The aim of Fakoya’s previous work and the IHH study —a partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization, WorldFish, and Duke University has been to capture and quantify the contributions of small-scale fisheries (SSF) to the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) at national, regional and global scales.

For example in a 2017 study, she showed that although sun-drying and smoking are the major strategies used to mitigate the spoilage of the catch after harvest, those methods can’t keep up during peak harvest times.

“The main intervention to reduce post-harvest loss is to facilitate adoption and scaling up of improved and localized fish drying and smoking technologies by small-scale fish processors,” she said, “This can be achieved by granting repayable credit facilities assured by registered cooperative and thrift societies or associations the processors belong.”

Fakoya says the biggest challenge in the IHH project was the paucity of data and information particularly on the gender dimensions of the SSF.

“At the same time, the challenge became an opportunity to appreciate the use of qualitative research in the case study,” she said, “I had to probe, analyze and interpret data and informathttps://marketnewsng.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpion in different ways.

The study was fun and filled with lots of brainstorming,” she said, “I liked having the opportunity to think outside the box, and of course outside the realms of STEM.”
Nigerian fisheries researcher Kafayat Adetoun Fakoya.

Nigerian fisheries researcher Kafayat Adetoun Fakoya (right) presenting a paper at the 19th … [+]
KAFAYAT ADETOUN FAKOYA

Fakoya says her journey towards fisheries research can be best described as “accidental,” after being born in Germany and growing up in Lagos, Nigeria.

“I saw myself as a budding medical doctor because our society places so much emphasis on prestigious professions,” she said, “But I ended up studying Fisheries in the university – though not out of choice but lack of admission to the study the desired course.”

Fakoya says that after the first year she explored fisheries and gradually fell in love with it.

“I started with fisheries biology but now I have embraced interdisciplinary research: what I do is a mix of science and social sciences,” she said.

Fakoya is just one of thousands who will be celebrating World Fisheries Day coming up on November 21. The commemorative day was founded by fishing communities in 1998 as a way to celebrate both the profession and the way of life. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), not only are fish one of the most widely traded foodstuffs, totaling 135 billion USD in 2015, developing countries have increased their share of trade from just 37% of total volume in 1976 to 60% in 2015.

Scientists from the global south are studying species of key importance to the global south.

Costa Rican scientist Jimena Golcher-Benavides goes scuba-diving in the the world’s deepest tropical freshwater

to study Cichlidae, simply known as cichlids, an important fish species for small-scale fisheries, aquaculture and in the global aquarium trade.

This research is vital because suitable habitat for fish and other aquatic fauna in the water column is shrinking due to climate warming, which threatens unique species and the human livelihoods that depend on them.

– Forbes

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