Buffer Zone Communities, Fishing Practices, and Biodiversity Conservation in Cross River National Park, Nigeria.

Oliver O. O. Enuoh


Several rivers and streams in Cross River National Park are becoming empty of fish and other aquatic animals due to unsustainable commercial fishing practices in buffer zone communities. Conventional fishing methods with net or use of hook, line, and sinker are no longer popular in several buffer zone villages of Cross River National Park.  The ubiquity of water poisoning (using different chemicals), across buffer zone villages, as fishing mechanism, is seriously undermining aquatic biodiversity in the park, and the rest of Cross River State of Nigeria.

Using a combination of qualitative (focus group discussions, observations, and interviews) and quantitative (livelihoods survey) research techniques, the study assesses fishing practices in the context of buffer zone rural livelihoods challenges in three villages of Cross River National Park. Findings reveal that unsustainable fishing practices are underpinned by poverty, common property regimes, wildlife management failure, and absence of buffer zone livelihoods programme in Cross River National Park. The paper discusses the biodiversity conservation implications of water poisoning in Cross River National Park, and concludes with recommendations for policy, and future research trajectories on aquatic biodiversity conservation in the park and anthropogenic challenges.

Keywords: Fishing, pesticides, water poisoning, livelihoods, buffer zone communities, aquatic biodiversity conservation, parks and protected areas.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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