Cold weather, high sea waves hamper crayfish catches — Fishermen

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As crayfish sellers and buyers decry the scarcity and high cost of the commodity, some fishermen have blamed the scarcity on cold weather and high sea waves which have hampered crayfish catches.

The fishermen made the observation in telephone interviews with newsmen in Abuja.

Some of them, who spoke on phone from Oron Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom, said that they were afraid of going to the high seas because of high ocean waves.

Most of the crayfish found in markets across the country were from Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

Mr Nyong Nyong, a fisherman who deals in crayfish, said that cold weather habitually affected the production and growth rates of crayfish.

“From my many years experience in the fishing business, once the water temperatures go below certain degrees, crayfish becomes less active and will not feed well or move around as well,’’.

According to Nyong, an important factor in fishery is that a fisherman’s success in catching crayfish or any other fish species largely depends on his understanding of how weather conditions affect the fishing process.

He said that the prevailing weather and sea conditions explained the reason why crayfish was always scarce during the rainy season because of cold weather or high sea waves.

Mr Efiong Essang, another fisherman, said the current weather conditions had also affected crayfish movements in rivers.

“It takes time for crayfish to move out of its habitation whenever the water is cold.

“It is also difficult for the fishermen to engage in deep-sea fishing because of sea storms which could cause boat mishaps.

“This explains why during certain periods, we experience scarcity of sea foods, not only crayfish but also other fish species,’’ .

Also, Mr Isikong Nduonyi, a fisherman, said that fishermen were always scared of the current weather conditions if they wanted to engage in deep-sea fishing.

According to him, if fishermen decide to take a risk, their catch will be smaller because of the dearth of crayfish in cold seasons.

He said that crayfish was usually inactive during cold spells, while from the economic standpoint, crayfish catches might not be profitable at such times.

Meanwhile, Mrs Sarah Ukoh, a crayfish seller in Ado Market in Nasarawa State, said that the price of a bag of crayfish had now come down to N70,000, instead of N130,000, its previous price.

Sarah, who attributed the high price of crayfish to the rainy season, recalled that the price of a bag of crayfish was as low as N40,000 at some points during the last dry season.

“It has always been like this during the rainy season because I learnt that in this period, fishermen are afraid of going to the high seas due to high sea waves resulting from sea storms.

“I know that when the sea is calm, crayfish catches will improve and its price will come down again.

“Another factor is the high cost of transportation from the South-South (geopolitical zone of the country) to towns in the northern states like Nasarawa State,’’

Arinze A/NAN