Don seeks urgent measures to preserve aquatic ecosystem

From Chidi Asonye, Umuahia

A Professor of Zoology, Diane Akudo Avoaja, has advocated urgent measures in protection of water, prevention of pollution, and control of fish parasites and diseases to sustain the freshwater ecosystem.

Avoaja, a lecturer at the Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, College of Natural Sciences of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, made this call while presenting the 49th inaugural lecture of the University.

The lecture titled: ‘Within the Hydrosphere, Fishes and Freshwaters: Availability and Sustainability in the Ecosystem’, listed freshwater to include rivers, lakes, ponds and reservoirs.

The don noted that Nigeria, just like most other African countries depend on fish for their livelihood, hence the magnitude of disaster that occurs each time any large scale occurrence of parasites which impart negatively on fisheries production as well as the destabilization of the means of subsistence of many people in the hinterland.

She therefore recommended the application of medication, mechanical and biological control to reduce these parasites on fishes.

While calling for the ban of use of explosive substances or any poisonous matter to catch fish, Avoaja said the use of drift nets which indiscriminately trap all forms of fishes from water should also be prohibited.

The inaugural lecturer further recommended “for reservoirs, lakes and ponds, vegetation around such water bodies should be left to create shade around the water, which will cut down the amount of heat from sun that goes into the water.

“This approach will help the animals in the water that do not need high temperature. It will also help the female fish which seek a shade/cool portion of the water during breeding,” she said.

Declaring the 49th inaugural lecture open, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Francis Otunta, commended the lecturer for her uncommon academic prowess.

Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, the VC assured that the lecture, just like others before it, was part of the institution’s contribution to deepening knowledge in enhancing a better society.

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