Fishing Tools or Gears

Examples of fishing tools or gears commonly used to harvest fishes are:

  • cast net.
  • drag net, draw net, or seine net.
  • clap net.
  • set net.
  • trawler with seine net or fishing trawler.
  • fish traps, gill net, fishing basket, harpoon or spear.


1) Fishing Nets

Fishing nets are generally used for the harvesting of fish(es) from either ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, oceans or sea.


There are various kinds of nets commonly used. Examples are:

a) Scoop Net: This is a small net which may be rectangular or cylindrical in shape with the required or regulated mesh size. It has a wide mouth and a short / long wooden handle. After the pond has been drained, harvesting can be done with a scoop net.


b) Gill nets: Gill nets are used to harvest or catch bigger fish(es) in a pond, thus leaving the smaller fish(es) until they attain bigger sizes. Gill nets are usually made of 2-3cm mesh sizes.

They are called gill nets because the fish pokes its head through the net mesh and is caught around the gills as it tries to wriggle through the net. The gill nets have lead sinkers (weights) at the bottom rope and floats at the top ropes.


c) Seine net: A seine net is capable of collecting all the fishes in the pond at once because it has smaller mesh size than the gill nets. It is made of heavy fibres to hold the fish. The nets usually have lead sinkers (weights) attached to the bottom ropes. These weights hold the nets at the bottom of the pond so that the fish cannot escape underneath the nets as they are pulled. The nets also have floats attached to the top ropes to help the net form an enclosure. Seine net is used with trawlers called fishing trawlers.


d) Fishing trawler: This is a large fishing boat in which large nets called seine nets can be attached. It is used for harvesting large fish(es) in the deep sea or oceans. The net can or is capable of harvesting or catching large quantities of fish(es) at a time for commercial purposes.


e) Fishing basket: This is a fishing tool designed like a basket. It has a cylindrical shape with a wide mouth. It has a trigger close to the mouth while at the taper end, holds the food (bait). The bait attracts the fish and when it enters the basket, the trigger is pulled down as the body of the fish touches it and this closes the mouth of the basket. By so doing, the fish cannot come out of the basket as it is being trapped.


f) Hook and line: The hook and line is also a fish harvesting tool. It has a long wooden handle, a long line, rope or twine, a float and a hook. The principle used in hook and line fishing is to offer the fish a bait (usually a small piece of fish or earthworm) fixed to a hook at the end of the line or rope. The fish, while trying to bite the bait, swallows the hook and thus gets caught.


Other methods of harvesting fish include

  • Trapping: This involves the setting of traps to catch fish. It involves the use of gears made from ropes or raffia wooven into various models of enclosures for capturing fishes. They are set along water courses and any fish that enters the trap would not be able to get out but remains there until it is caught by the fisherman.
  • Netting: This involves the use of various types of nets to catch fish. Nets like gill net, clap net, trawl net, etc which have been wooven into various sizes and thickness are thrown into water to catch fish.
  • Electro-fishing: This involves the use of electricity to catch fish by creating electric fields in an enclosed area such that current is sent across, killing fishes between poles. It can only be used for total harvesting of fish.
  • Draining of ponds: This involves draining of pond water for easy use of net to catch large fishes.
  • Use of ultrasonic: This is an instrument which can make sound in water and attract fishes so that they can easily be trapped or harvested using other means of harvesting.
  • Impaling: This involves the use of spears or harpoons to attack and catch big fishes.



Fishery regulation is a set of rules and laws governing the exploitation and other practices of fishery resources, especially in open access water. In other words, fishery regulations are laws made by the government in order to control and protect fish harvesting so that they do not go into extinction and for them (fishes) to be in regular supply from time to time.

Fishery regulations or decree in Nigeria was promulgated in 1971 during General Yakubu Gowon’s regime.

The regulations are:

  1. Close season: This is a regulation in which no fishing is permitted to take place for a given period of time. This allows the smaller fishes to grow and mature.
  2. Catch quota: This is a form of control in which a fisherman is allowed to catch a specific quantity of fish or regulating the number of fishermen by issuing them fishing permits or licences at a specific amount.
  3. Mesh size regulation: This involves the use of a particular mesh or net size such that only the matured fishes are caught, thus protecting the young ones.
  4. Regular stocking: This involves the addition of compactible species of fish to increase the population of fishes in water.
  5. Population control: This involves the use of other fish types like clarias (catfish) to eat up Tilapia or early harvesting to prevent overpopulation.
  6. Protection of territorial waters: No vessels (except canoes) shall fish within the first two nautical miles of the water of the Nigerian continential shelf.
  7. Ban on the use of explosives: The use of explosive substances for fishing is prohibited because it often results in the death of both the mature and the young fishes.
  8. Ban on the use of chemicals or poisonous materials: The use of noxious or poisonous chemicals is prohibited because it also results in the death of both matured and the young ones.
  9. Landing tax: Landing tax should be introduced such that total catch and sizes of fish should be taxed at the site of landing.
  10. Allocation of fishing areas: Fishing areas are allocated to individual fisherman so as to curb indiscriminate interference within large fishing areas.
  11. Restriction on breeding section: The breeding section of water should be identified so as to restrict fishing in that section.
  12. Ban on discharge of pollutants or toxic substances: Pollutants or toxic materials should not be discharged into the Nigerian waters.
  13. Prohibition of dumping toxic materials: The dumping of toxic materials or industrial wastes should be prohibited in fishing areas or water.
  14. Certification for consumption: There should be certification that fishes to be sold to the public are safe for human consumption.
  15. Prohibition on killing of endangered species: The law that forbids the killing of endangered aquatic animals should be prohibited.
  16. Ban on electro-fishing: Electro-fishing is outlawed except for research purposes.


Ways of Making Fishery Regulations Effective in Nigeria

There are several ways in which fishery regulations can be made effective in Nigeria. These are:

  1. Use of local or native languages: The fishery regulations should be written and made available in local or native languages.
  2. Simple presentation to fishermen: The regulations should be presented to the fishing community or fishermen in very simple ways.
  3. Wide publicity to create awareness: The regulations should be given wide publicity, using radio, television, posters, leaflets/handbills in order to bring such to the awareness of the people.
  4. Use of law enforcement agents: Appropriate law enforcement agents should be used to enforce the regulations.
  5. Revocation of licences: There should be revocation or withdrawal of licences of defaulting fishermen.
  6. Prosecution of defaulters: There should be prosecution of defaulting fishermen.

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