Integrating Climate Change into Conservation and Management of Marine Fisheries ResourcesA Study of the Sustainable Development of Marine Fisheries in Nigeria

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date12 Nov 2010
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Abstract

The state of marine fishery resources globally and particularly in Nigeria is a matter of considerable concern. Hitherto, international and Nigerian fisheries laws, as well as the opinions of legal scholars on how to address this problem, have focused predominantly on overfishing. Meanwhile, scientific literature reveals that increasing ocean temperatures caused by global warming have serious legal and management implications on the sustainable development of marine fishery resources. This thesis argues that sustainability of marine fishery resources is achievable only if states, including Nigeria, adopt a holistic and proactive approach to their management. This approach demands mainstreaming climate change into harvest-based measures by applying precautionary and ecosystem management methods. The approach further requires coastal and fishing states to comply with fisheries and climate change regimes.

The management of Norwegian spring spawning herring and Frazer River sockeye was case-studied and the lessons learned are used as a guide to address the adverse impact of climate change on Nigeria’s already overexploited marine fisheries. However, since societies are not the same and documentary data require triangulation, semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain the views of stakeholders in the marine fisheries sector on the major themes investigated.

The first part of this thesis covers the introduction, research methodology and an examination of some preliminary issues. Part two ascertains how international fisheries law has addressed the problems of overfishing and climate change. Part three identifies the main lessons from the aforementioned case studies and advocates that states should adopt holistic approaches to compliance in solving the marine fish crisis. Part four investigates the extent to which Nigerian fisheries law has addressed the problems of overfishing and climate change; it also examines Nigeria’s compliance with international fisheries law. The concluding part recommends, in particular, that Nigeria should enforce conservation measures at sea, broaden participation of stakeholders in marine fisheries management and reduce its greenhouse gases emissions.