DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE – HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAMME FOCUS
The numerous rivers and water bodies in Nigeria harbour a wide variety of very useful animals and fishes, which are yet to be studied, scientifically exploited and domesticated. The water bodies as well as the environmental factors, which influence them, have also not been fully understood and effectively utilized. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has the responsibility to understand the scientific characteristics of the numerous fishes as well as other water flora and fauna as influenced by their environment, and to train students in the arts, science, and technology to be effective practical managers and domesticators of these resources.
The Bachelor of Fisheries programme was started in 1990 and was housed with the College of Animal Science and Fisheries. The first set of 14 students were admitted in the 1990/91 session. For a more focused and coordinated research, training extension and suitable management of Forestry, Wildlife, Range resources, and Fisheries, the College of Forestry and Fisheries, with four academic Departments, was established and approved by the Senate of the University at its 95th meeting of 23rd December 1997. The Department OF Fisheries and Aquaculture was therefore moved from College of Animal Science & Fisheries to the newly created College of Forestry and Fisheries. Postgraduate programmes commenced in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2005/2006 academic session
Under the College of Forestry and Fisheries, the Fisheries programme is designed to train students to acquire the relevant processional attitudes, knowledge and skills to enable the graduates to appreciate fisheries in a wildlife setting as well as to understand meteorology/hydrology and to work fish and water resources managers.
The Programme is structured to produce graduates with necessary skills to effectively and efficiently practice sustainable natural resources management. It is designed such that in the first year students take courses in all basic scientific and other skills needed in a changing technological environment.
During the second year students are further exposed to basic and applied sciences as well as the basic principles in Agricultural and Natural Resources Management (Crop, Soil, Animals, Forestry, Wildlife, Food science and Technology, Home Economics and Fisheries). Thus the first two years are spent on basic science, arts and social sciences as well as some introductory courses in different areas of agriculture and natural resources management. This ensures a broad based background for innovation practice in a would of competing sectarian demands on the ecosystem. The third year is spent on courses wholly housed in the College. It is a year of very intensive theoretical work and covers introductory courses in all the natural resources management option.
The fourth year is devoted to practical and field experience. It is divided into two parts. The first semester is spent on campus where the students are exposed to practical aspects of sustainable and efficient utilization of natural resources in various subjects. It includes about 4 months of a northern and southern tour of Nigeria to expose the students and equip them with enough practical knowledge.
FISH FARMS UNIT
Due to the privileged location of Makurdi on the River Benue, the College has utilized this opportunity to develop both artisanal and culture fisheries for teaching, research and extension under the fish farms Unit. Several earthen ponds have also been constructed and used for fish farming, while sustainable fishing techniques are being developed and tested on the Rivers Benue and Guma. The Department, currently has (2) fish hatchery complexes