Educating Fishers and Secondary School Students in Lagos State, Nigeria on the importance of Wetland Conservation to Sustainable Fisheries

Lois Oyindamola Ewenla, Nigeria
The secondary school education policy in Lagos State encourages students to study Science and Agriculture so as to build capacity for the industrial sector and produce food for the teeming population of the state that currently stands at about 24 million. This population is threatened by food insecurity especially inadequate animal protein emanating from the inability of captured and cultured fisheries to meet the current fish demand, which stands at about 374,000 tonnes. The current production is about 170,123 tonnes (60 – 70% of this output is from wetlands), leaving a deficit of about 203,877 tonnes. Ironically, Lagos State is a coastal state with about 70% of its landmass occupied by different types of aquatic ecosystems including fresh, brackish and marine water. The state has a geographical area of 3,577 sqkm, 22% of which is occupied by wetlands, lagoons, rivers, creeks and other water bodies. Despite the abundance of aquatic resources in the state, wetland ecology is not given a robust discussion in the curriculum of Biology of Lagos State. The implication is that science-based students have very shallow knowledge of wetland and the services they provide to the human population around them. Twelve schools comprising junior and senior classes were selected for the outreach programme with 4 schools from each of the 3 senatorial districts in Lagos State. This outreach program educated secondary school students on the need to conserve wetlands because of their contribution to inland fisheries output and other services they provide for the riverine communities.