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Fish processing activities in some communities of Rivers State were investigated to determine the
role of women in its development and sustainability. Fifty structured questionnaires were randomly
distributed in five communities (10 per community) across three local government areas of the state.
The results from the study indicated that most of the respondents are young and married women. They
are actively involved in fish processing activities in combination with fishing. The women had between
6 and 10 years of experience in fish processing. In the study area, women utilized smoking as major
processing methods, with mullets, sardine, and tilapia as major species processed by the women. Fish
processing in these communities is done mostly by smoking using a locally made kiln which can dry a
lot of fish at a time. Occupational hazards associated with fish processing include skin rashes, redness
of the eye, offensive body odor, and bruises. Moreover, insufficient capital, lack of modern processing
facilities, poor storage facilities, and scarcity in fish supply have been identified as major constraints
facing women involvement in processing activities in these communities. There is, therefore, the need
to empower the women fish processors in these areas through granting of loans and credit facilities,
capacity building, introduction of improved fish processing equipment, and storage facilities. These will
go a long way in enhancing fish production, improve their livelihood, and boost socioeconomic status of
these women processors in the study areas.
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