Assessment of Aqua-Tourism Potentials in Some Fishing Sites in Bitumen Bearing Wetlands of Ondo State, Nigeria
A 24-month survey was conducted during the wet (May- August) and Dry (October ?April) season of 2004 and 2006 along eight economic fishing sites in Ondo State bearing Wetland, with the aim of determining the abundance, species diversity of some ornamental species thus promoting ecotourism potential and preventing the loss of these species in the area during and after exploitation. The study was carried out in 4 study zones namely Odigbo (S1), Ode-Aye (S2), Okitipupa (S3), and Ilaje ese-odo (S4) noted for active bitumen seepage. Fishing potential of the area was assessed using catch per unit effort method as well as physico chemical analysis of water samples obtained from designated sites in the area in accordance with AOAC methodology. Fish compositions were assessed using multifilament gillnet, of different sizes hanging from 38 mm to 178 mm. The results revealed that the area is blessed with 24 economic species of fishes belonging to 13 families which could boost the tourist potential of Ondo State. The percentage composition of families identified varies as follows: Ariidae (2.04%), Anabantidae (3.27%), Bagridae (6.36%), Channidae (4.32%), Characidae (10.62%) Cichlidae (45.65%) Clupeidae (3.94%), Clariidae (11.78%), Hepsetidae (0.95%), Mormyridae (7.42 %), Malapteruridae (1.13%), Schilbiidae (1.76%), Polypteridae (0.76%). The family Cichlidae was the most abundant in the area during the study period. The diversity of fish during the study varied with locations and season .The study showed higher fish population during the dry season than raining season and lower population in study zones highly polluted by bitumen seepages. The study emphasizes the need for sustainable resource management during bitumen exploitation.