Rev Nnimmo Bassey, Director of the ecological think tank HOMEF, addressing some fishers at Dic Fiberesima community in Okirika, Rivers State.
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
To encourage the fishery industry, an organization, Fishnet Alliance in collaboration with Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), have given out free fishing kits to fishermen/women resident at Dic Fiberesima community in Okirika, Rivers State.
Presenting the kits which includes fishing net, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of ecological think tank HOMEF, noted that fishing communities in the Niger Delta region are having hard time following the oil spills in the water, as well as the COVID-19 restrictions which has left them in a suffering condition.
According to Bassey, “so many of the fishers, their economy has literally collapsed as many of them do not have the tools for fishing”.
Giving reason for the distribution of the free kits, Bassey said “Even if they can go to fish, it was difficult, so we came to meet with the Fishnet Alliance members, give them fishing kits thatthey can use collectively, so that instead of renting nets from individuals, they can give it out to members who can go fishing thereby rebuilding their economy”.
He encouraged the fishers to set up local existing system of protecting the aquatic bio diversity.
He further noted that “fishers recorded more fish in the waters because there were less pollution from oil companies, illegal refineries, and we came to see if it is true, that means if there is less hydrocarbon pollution in Niger Delta, the environment has a chance of recovery”.
However, HOMEF stressed the need for protection of the environment, stoppage of oil spill, and the dropping of waste in the water bodies.
HOMEF Director also explained that the “Fishnet Alliance is a movement of fishermen, women and fish processor movements”, assured that the group will take steps to ensure there is less pollution, advising the community to report any incident of spill to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
He added “When we have pollution in the environment, the FG should live to its responsibility because it has the highest share in the resources”.
Speaking with The AUTHORITY at the programme, Fubara Sampson, a fisherman and member of Fishnet Alliance, noted that “Before the Covid-19 it was very difficult to catch fish in the water because of the pollution in our rivers. But now we have more fishes but the price is very high.
“All over the Niger Delta, fishes are available now but to buy it is expensive because money is not in circulation, people find it difficult to get money nowadays. Otherwise, people do more catches.
“Another good advantage, the Covid is not a good thing but economically it turns back many locals back to the traditional way of fishing and many engaged in fishing.
Is clear to me this time money is not really in circulation, but this fishing net HOMEF in collaboration with Fishnet Alliance shared to the community will do us a great good because some of the community people want to go fishing but no net. We appreciate the effort, even if is a palliative, is better than the one carton of indomie that government is sharing to the people in the name of palliative during the lockdown.
Also speaking, Mrs Edith George, said “I thank God that I am a beneficiary in this free net distribution by the Fishnet Alliance and HOMEF. My net is old and I didn’t have money to replace it, so this new one will help me in the business.
“I will use the net to catch more fish and sell to take care of my family. Before now we used to buy the net at N10, 000 but presently it is sold at about N20, 000 and as a poor widow I can’t afford.
“So, I thank the group for relieving us of this fear and providing a free fish nets to us in our community”, she added.