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Fishing trips in Ijaw waters

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A local Ijaw Fisher woman displays her big catch in the middle of river with excitement; Photo: Google

By  Okoi Amadiowei Jacob

Fishing is one of the agricultural activities of the Ijaws which they inherited from their ancestors some generations ago. It is an agricultural activity with which Ijaws provide meals and finances for themselves and for their families in the rural villages.
Fishing can be embarked upon by individuals or by a community crowd during fishing festivals. Some of the materials used for fishing in our villages are Nets ( Diii or Igbor ), Hooks( Dar-iyii ), Spears ( Duunmu) and native traps( Itei ). It is really a delightful scene to watch ijaws getting engaged in their respective fishing exercises as they are seen, struggling with live fishes in volumes of water such as in ponds, dykes, swamps, creeks and in rivers. Some expert fishermen even extend their fishing expeditions to the wide sea which is close to the Atlantic ocean, especially those in Twon Brass, Okpoama, Agge, Foropa and Kolo-ama.
It is an interesting scene to watch as one carefully raised up traps being inserted in the water with some attractive baits thus fishes are found filling up contents of such traps. He or she will be happy to see fishes full in the trap. In the act of throwing a net, a fisherman is seen throwing his well-designed net to a target spot in the river where a school of fishes were noted to be swimming about under the surface of the water. The net will go down deeply with the help of the heavily inserted sinking stones, being attached to the bottom-line margin of the net. When the throwing net is drawn back gradually to the surface from the depth of the river, hundreds of fishes are being caught up in the net as they could not escape from hollows of the net as its mouth got closed immediately when thrown into the bottom floor of the water through the help of the sinkers.
Spear fishing which is also known as angling is another interesting game to watch in fishing trips. A fisherman who is going round the creek on a canoe will aim at a fish, found swimming about on the surface of the water. He will throw the spear aptly at the target fish whose body will be impaled with the sharpened edge of the spear. By the time he will go round some distance of the creek in his angling actions, he will kill fishes in great number which will be enough for his household and even for sale.
Ijaws are habitually fishermen thus are found close to water. That is why people fondly say, ‘wherever an Ijaw man is, water is close by. God has blessed the ijaws to occupy aquatic terrains that are filled up with fishes such as Iyoro, Atoin, Pormi, Ipele-pele, Apete, Iweri, Toriyo, Akeu, Abar, Ongolor, Osau, Obede, Orkuon, Opo-ooy, Imornor, and even with ibiesini. There is therefore need for every Ijaw man or woman to simply say, ‘ Thank You, Jehovah God’, for freely giving to Ijaws, abundance of fishes in our ponds, dykes, swamps, creeks, rivers and even in our seas for all these generations. I therefore serially say, to God be the glory!

© Okoi Amadiowei Jacob ( 17-02-2023 )

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