This paper seeks to examine the state of transitions taking place 

in the Lake Nekoue region of southeastern Benin.  With the majority of 

the population concentrated in this region, increasing population growth 

continues to put pressures on an already strained environment.  The 

lagoon system running along the coastline serves as a resource for the 

artisanal fisherman to find his catch and also provides him with a place 

to live.  His catch has historically provided a major source of protein 

to the people of southern Benin.  To this point, nothing but exploitation 

of the waters has taken place, but it is becoming increasingly difficult 

to maintain such a careless view.  Changes must be made if the resources 

of the lagoon are to be maintained.

        The transitions that I will be looking at are the demographic, 

tourism, and fishing transitions.  These form the base of the problems 

that are currently being experienced.  Other transitions, such as 

forestry and urbanization, do not apply to this water-based setting, and 

others such as the technological transition, are not yet an issue.  


        The Republic of Benin runs due north from the West African coast, 

extending nearly 700 kilometers inland from the Gulf of Guinea.  Benin is 

bordered on the northeast by Niger and the Niger River, on the northwest 

by the Pendjari River that runs along the border with Burkina Faso, by 

Nigeria to the east, and Togo to the West.  The country is fairly small, 

with an area roughly equal to the size of the state of Pennsylvania.  

        The coastal region consists of a series of small lagoons which 

connect Benin's major rivers to the sea, the largest and most important 

of these is Lake Nekoue. Within this lagoon, as well as others, there 

exists a population that lives on the water, and derives their nutrition 

and livelihood from it.  In the southeast region, the major ethnic group 

is Toffinu.  They have lived on Lake Nekoue for several hundred years.  

These people were originally mainland inhabitants, living in the central 

region of Benin, but fearing their more powerful neighbors who had dealt 

in the slave trade with the arriving Europeans, they fled south.  When 

they were still pursued, they moved into the middle of Lake Nekoue, 

because the lagoon was too shallow for slave ships to enter, and the 

customs of their African pursuers did not allow them to cross the water.  

Thus, they escaped and their life on the water began.  Indeed the name of 

the largest village on the lagoon, Ganvie reflects this history.  In the 

Toffinu laguage, gan neans "we are" and vie means "saved".


        As with other developing countries, Benin is still in an active 

period of its population transition.  Birth rates within the rural areas 

continue to rise, while for the entire country, they have begun to level 

off in recent years and with increased access to health care and safe 

drinking water, death rates continue to fall.  Figure 1 illustrates this 

process at work.  Additionally, Figure 2 shows the dramatic increased 

life expectancies that the population is experiencing, causing a shift in 

the age distribution.

Figure 1


Source: World Resource Database, 1994.

Figure 2


Source: World Resource Database, 1994.

        Given these factors, Figure 3 illustrates the projected 

population increase through the year 2025.  There is a public 

contraception policy in place, although it has a lot to do with 

preventing the spread of the HIV virus, and not as much with family 

planning.  However, most family planning efforts are focused in the 

cities, and neither information or supplies are readily disseminated in 

the rural areas.  Given the importance of children within the family, as 

both future legacy and additional manpower, there is no incentive to 

reduce family size.

Figure 3


Source: World Resource Database, 1994.

        Each of these statistical realities is being aided by a number of 

factors at work within the country.  For the village of Ganvie, and the 

rest of the Lake Nekoue region, the major factors are:
        Increased access to health care

        Availability of potable drinking water

        Imposition of Western religion
        Since 1985, the inhabitants of Lake Nekoue have had access to a 

hospital in the lagoon village of So-Tchanhoue.  This hospital is one of 

the major reasons for the explosion of population within the lagoon.  It 

has given the population much greater access to medicines and treatments 

than before.  (Previously, the nearest hospital was on the mainland.)  

The hospital has been instrumental in controlling the diseases that have 

traditionally been self-limiting to the population, such as cholera and 

malaria.  AIDS has not yet made an impact.  As of June 1995, only two 

cases had been diagnosed by the hospital.  Additionally, within the last 

ten years, the government has installed a series of wells to provide 

fresh, safe drinking water to almost every village on the lagoon.  This 

also has helped stem the historical cholera problem.  Both of these 

factors have helped to cause a rise in the population and put further 

strain on the ecosystem to provide for the inhabitants that depend on 

it.  As previously stated, family planning projects exist in Benin but 

have not yet been disseminated to the rural population.

        The imposition of western religion has also made an impact on 

this transition.  The traditional belief system in the village instilled 

a strong sense of morals and values among its inhabitants.  It provided 

rewards for those who abided by it, and penalties for those that did 

not.  Through an elaborate system of deities, rituals, and 

responsibilities, it helped regulate the villager's lives.  For example, 

polygamy is an accepted practice in the village.  It is not uncommon for 

a man to have more than one wife.  Although there is no formal limit to 

the number of wives, under the traditional system, the number of wives 

that a man may have has been limited by the number of wives (and 

children) that a man can provide for.  If a man did not provide for one 

of his wives, she could cast a spell on him, or demand that the deities 

punish him, and misfortune would befall him.  

        As missionary activity in the village increased, and Christianity 

was introduced, the villagers saw that as people left the traditional 

ways, nothing happened to them, there was no punishment.  For many, it 

took away the incentive to exist by a difficult, and at times expensive, 

but practical, system.  As such, there are currently three types of 

belief systems at work in the village: those that follow the traditional 

belief system, those that follow western/non-indigenous belief systems 

(Christianity, Islam), and those that follow neither of the two systems.  

This population, who experience no ramification to their actions and have 

lost faith in the traditional values, but do not believe in the 

missionary message have made a powerful impact on the population 

transition.  Men of thirty and forty years of age, having grown up in the 

traditional society usually have one or two wives, and practice some form 

of religion, traditional or not.  However, this is not so with the 

younger men.  Presently, it is not uncommon for a man of twenty years of 

age to have in excess of ten wives, each with several children.  The men 

do not take care of their families, and as such, the woman is left to 

provide for her own family unit, thus enabling the man to procreate 

further.  There is no limit to the number of wives that he may have, 

since he does not provide for his offspring, thus his resources are not 

limited by his responsibilities.  The women seek to have more children, 

as the children help provide for the family where the husband does not, 

and the population grows. (See Figures 1 and 3)

        This impact is evident by examining age distributions within 

Ganvie. (Table 1 and Figure 4)  In 1979, the majority of the population 

was under the age of fifteen.  It is this group, presently aged 15-30, 

that is now of childbearing age and is producing significantly more than 

their replacement amount of offspring that is pressuring the population 


Table 1

Age Distribution in Ganvie (1979)

0-5 years       6-14 years      15-49 years     50 and up       Unknown Total

3,312           2,041           4,212           1,056           196     10,817

Source: Radji, 1991.

Figure 4


Source: Radji, 1991.

        Table 2 also shows these factors at work.  Between 1962 and 1995, 

Ganvie has more than tripled its population, and thus its demands on the 

lagoon and the ecosystem.  More importantly, Table 3 shows the total 

population of the entire district of which Ganvie is a part, to provide a 

frame of reference for the magnitude of population growth that the area 

has experienced.  By projecting the increase in the population, using the 

same level of growth that Ganvie has experienced, the strains on the 

ecosystem become immediately apparent.  If the rate of growth in the 

district parallels that of Ganvie, the district population has almost 

tripled within the past fifteen years, and the strain on the ecosystem 

has risen similarly.

Table 2:

Population Growth in the Village of Ganvie

Year (Source)                   Total Population

1962 (Demographic Study)        9,300

1979 (Census)                   10,807

1989 (Census)                   20,000

1995 (Estimate)                 30,000

Source: Radji, 1991  and Sifontes, 1995.

Table 3:

Population of Sous-prefecture (District) of St-Awa in 1979

Administrative Division     Total Population        % Men per 100 Women     1995 Projected Population

So-Awa District (total)     37,818                      94.38               104,818

So-Awa                      4,913                       100.12              13,609

Ahomh-Lokpo                 5,297                       94.39               14,672

Dekamey                     2,350                       105.42              6509

Ganvie I                    6,449                       94.54               30,000

Ganvie II                   4,358                       86.24               (see above)

Houedo-Aguekon              5,096                       98.60               14,115

Vekky                       9,355                       92.25               25,913

[Note:  Figures for Ganvie I and Ganvie II should be combined]

Source: Radji, 1991.

        Part of the reason for the slow population growth during the late 

1960s and early 1970s that is not evident in the tables is the impact of 

the rural exodus that took place during that time period.  Due to the 

strength of the Nigerian economy and their currency, the naira, many of 

the Toffinu migrated to Nigerian in search of opportunity.  The recent 

devaluation of the CFA (the monetary unit for a significant portion of 

West Africa) coupled with the decline of the natural fishery could have a 

similar effect in the future.  However, in speaking with people about 

such opportunities, most were reluctant to change their current lifestyles.


        Another part of the changing picture in all of the lagoon 

villages, but in particular Ganvie, is the role that tourism has played 

in the development of the villages.  Ganvie is singled out due to its 

position, as the first lagoon village one reaches when leaving the 

mainland.  It is the closest to Cotonou, Benin's largest city, and other 

villages are further apart.  Because of its novelty, it is described as 

the Venice of the Africa, tourists come from all over the world to see 

Ganvie.  This has helped lead to the decline in the traditional mores of 

the Toffinu society.  It also has other undesired impacts on the 

village.  People have begun to expect money from the tourists.  Children 

beg and pester until they are appeased.  Tourism has also provided a 

market for prostitution in the village.

        Due to the marketing efforts of the Benin government during the 

Marxist period, Benin saw a large number of tourists during the 1980s.  

Since the political shift, however, there has not been emphasis on 

continuing advertising, and the number of visitors has been decreased.  

(See Figure 5 and also Appendix A)

Figure 5


Source: Radji, 1991.

        It is estimated that 90% of the tourists visiting Benin, make the 

trip to Ganvie during their stay. (Radji, 1991)  Until recently, the 

national government has had a monopoly on the exploitation of the tourist 

trade.  The price for the trip to Ganvie was strictly controlled by 

them.  Since the liquidation of ONATHO, the national tourism and hotels 

office, the private tour operators have taken over this facet of the 

tourist trade.  Under both systems, this has meant the exploitation of 

the Toffinu.  They are shown off and paraded n front of tourists, while 

only a few villagers (the restaurant and shop owners) derive any benefit 

at all.  The current mayor has worked to change this system, however, and 

now, for every tourist that comes to the village, a portion of their 

passage goes to a village fund, to be used as the people of Ganvie see 

fit.  Currently, a trip to Ganvie costs 5,000 CFA (~$10 USD) and of this 

sum, the village is given 250 CFA (~$0.50 USD). The inequities still 

abound, but the villagers are able to derive some benefit from the 

tourist incursions on their lives and thus, continue to tolerate them.  

This idea of compensation has spread, though, and people will not allow 

picture taking or even polite conversation without some type of 

compensation.  "Cadeau, cadeau" (gift, gift) is the common cry.  The 

villagers have begun to expect such "gifts" from the tourists, and for 

the most part, the tourists have been quite happy to oblige.  The 

situation is becoming intolerable, however, as every tourist is inundated 

by begging villagers.  The village excursion is becoming increasingly 

unpleasant, as the so-called traditional lifestyle that one is traveling 

to see is being marred by crass commercialism.

        Tourism provides money for village infrastructure and 

improvements, but the number of tourists has decreased without the 

continued government outlay for international advertising.  The villagers 

still do not receive an equitable share of the proceeds gained from their 

exploitation.  However, I do not know how this system could easily be 

changed, as it is currently controlled by private industries who already 

have the resources to perform this service.

        The continued degradation of the lagoon can have a further impact 

on tourism.  As the lagoon ecosystem becomes increasingly constrained, 

accumulated waste and garbage in the water will serve to dissuade visits 

to the sight.


Evolution of Lake Nekoue

        At 160 km2, Lake Nekoue is the largest lake in Benin.  Its depth 

is between 0.5 and 1.5 m during the dry season.  This figure increases 

dramatically during the rains, to approximately 2 to 3.5 m.  The lake has 

two exits, through the Totchi canal which connects the Porto-Novo lagoon 

with the sea near Lagos, Nigeria, and the canal at Cotonou.

        The outlet at Cotonou is not a natural phenomenon, it is an 

attempt for man to control the works of nature around him.  Its evolution 

can be explained in a series of steps.

        First, in 1885, with the repeated flooding of the rapidly 

expanding Cotonou by the Ouimi and St rivers, an artificial opening was 

created to relieve this that let the land-locked flood waters in this 

area escape.  The creation of the Cotonou channel allowed the salt and 

fresh waters to mix in the lake at a much higher concentration than 

before.  The salinity of Lake Nekoue shifted to reflect the additional 

contact with the marine environment.  The ecosystem was dramatically 

changed by this "first contact".  Shrimp, mollusks, and other marine fish 

were able to exist within the channel and also within the lake.  New 

fishing opportunities were created for certain populations.  Fresh water 

fish sought refuge in the north of the lake where the salinity was still 

low, and where the phytoplankton from which they derived their 

nourishment could still be found.

        Eventually, due to sediment, a gradual closing of the channel 

would occur without regular dredging.  This gave rise to a cycle of 

opening and closing, where during the dry season, the closing of the 

channel allowed the freshening of the water and an environment where 

phytoplankton could flourish, and provided a substantial source of food 

for the fish population.  Once the flood waters had migrated into the 

lagoon, the channel would be opened by the movement, and the marine and 

lagoon environments had the opportunity to mix once again. 

        With creation of the commercial port at Cotonou (est. 1960), sand 

from the channel was removed to make cement for the project.  This ended 

the ability for channel to periodically close.  The exchange between sea 

and lake waters became permanent.  This has had repercussions on both 

flora and fauna of lake

        The primary flora of the lagoon used to be mangrove.  

Unfortunately, due to the change in environment and the human devastation 

of the natural environment (cutting down trees for houses and acadjas), 

the flora now consists mostly of sea grasses on the small masses of land 

around as well as within the lagoon which are used to feed animals, and 

water lilies that dominate the lake during the fresh water period and 

make travel on the water very difficult.

        A barrage was built in the late 1970s, in an attempt to return 

the lagoon to its pre-port state, by enabling the periodic closing of the 

channel by artificial means.  However, this effort was short-lived and 

unsuccessful, as groups that had begun to use the channel for their 

shrimp operations favored the continual mix of fresh and marine water 

environments.  Once the barrage was completed, they destroyed it.  After 

a second attempt, and a second sabotage, the barrage idea was abandoned.

        As would be expected in a water-based society, the main 

occupation is fishing.  The people are integrally connected to the 

water.  They derive their livelihood and nutrition from it, and have so 

since the establishment of the village.  Indeed, approximately 88% of 

males within the lagoon villages are fisherman, as their primary 

occupation. With the decline in the natural fishery, there are those that 

have turned to other professions to make a living.  Women purchase the 

fish that the men catch and sell it to the market or retain it for their 

own use, women also have small shops and sell other commodities as well.
Methods of Fishing

        There are a number of different fishing practices within the 

villages, the ones currently used are:

-LINE (manned)         This is  the conventional image of fishing, one line and one hook  under the fisherman's control.
-CAST NET (manned)

        This is a large net that is cast over the water in areas that are 

public domain, the fisherman rapidly casts and recalls them, removing 

anything that has been caught in the net, and casts it again.
-DJOHOUN (unmanned)

        This is a method where a number of hooks are hung off of a single 

line supported on each end by two poles at different lengths.  These 

hooks catch passing fish, which remain caught on the line until the 

fisherman comes back to remove them.
-BASKETS (unmanned)

        There are several types of baskets and/or traps used.  They are 

primarily used for catching crabs and shrimp.  The fisherman places the 

traps in the water, primarily at the end of the day, and returns to claim 

his catch the next morning.
-ACADJA (unmanned)

        Created in 19th century, this system consists of an ensemble of 

branches usually circular or in the shape of a rectangle anchored in the 

bottom of the lagoon, covering top to bottom of lagoon, filled with 

smaller branches and leaves.  The area serves as refuge for number of 

fish, especially tilapia, which feed on the plankton which develop on the 

decaying branches and leaves.  It also serves as refuge for the fry of 

reproducing fish.

        Fishing the acadjas takes a lot of manpower, which favors a 

communal lifestyle.  While only well off members of the community can 

afford to have them, almost everyone helps fish them.

The number of acadjas is now fixed.  Previously the acadjas were taking 

up a significant surface area in the lake, and the decay of all the extra 

plant material from branches was causing the lake to fill.  The state has 

now imposed a tax which helps to limit the size and number of acadjas on 

the lake.  The economic pressures facing the people are evident here as 

well, where the acadjas used to fished twice a year, in order to allow 

for significant growth of the crop, and allow time for reproduction, they 

are now harvested after a period of only 3 to 4 months.

-MEDOKPOKONOU (unmanned)

        By far, this is the most devastating practice.  Only very 

recently invented, medokpokonou consists of raising a net across a given 

area in the lake, and placing a large pouch at each end.  Given the 

current condition of the fishery, only nets with very small openings are 

used.  Net size is described by the number of fingers that can fit 

through one of the holes, thus a fisherman knows how big the smallest of 

the fish that he will catch will be.  The nets for this practice are 

described as one finger nets.  When used, they will effectively remove 

all the fish from a given area.

        The impact of this is clear.  By using such small nets, even the  fingerlings and non-mature members of many species are being removed from  the lake.  The species do not have a chance to reproduce and thus, the  number of potential as well as actual fish in the lake is reduced. Figure 6   Source: World Resource Database, 1994.         Figure 6 shows the dramatic drop in freshwater fish production in  Benin in recent years.  This can be partially attributed to the decline  in the Lake Nekoue fishery, as it is the primary source of fish for the  metropolitan Cotonou and Porto Novo regions.  The specific amount of fish  that comes from the Lake Nekoue fishery is not known, however, it has  been estimated at over 50% of the total fish catch. (Falana, 1990)   Conversations with the local fishermen tell even more about the state of  the fishery, however.  In listing the approximately twenty different  species that have historically flourished during the flood and non-flood  periods (see Appendices B and C), only two or three are currently present  in any abundance, and for those, the size of the fish caught as well as  the total catch weight has been dramatically reduced.

        There are regulations put in place by the government to protect 

the natural fishery, such as the regulations concerning acadjas.  

However, because of the remoteness of the locations, as well as the lack 

of manpower, they go practically unenforced.  Among these regulations is 

a prohibition on using fishing nets smaller than "two fingers", which if 

followed would help reduce the damage caused by medokpokonou.  People in 

the village are fully aware of these rules, but knowing that enforcement 

is non-existent, most choose not to follow them.  

        The future of the natural fishery is bleak, and the population is 

very slowly becoming aware of it.  But knowledge is not automatically 

leading to action, as the popularity of medokpokonou suggests.  Inherent 

in the Toffinu culture is an "I've got mine" attitude, which impedes 

resource preservation efforts.  As long as there is enough for today, 

there is no concern for tomorrow.  With the rapidly decreasing fish 

catches, the tide has begun changing, however, and reality has begun to 

reach them.  Already, families are not able to support themselves from 

their traditional lifestyle, and must seek other nutritional sources.  

However, due to the decline in the natural fishery, there is not 

sufficient money to buy supplementary provisions.  


        It is a daunting task to change the path that this area is 

already headed on.  There are multiple factors: social, political and 

economic at work that complicate this process.  First, the preservation 

and protection of the natural fishery needs to be addressed.  A primary 

component of this would entail educating the population of the current 

situation and its consequences.  The people have experienced the 

dwindling fish catches and have begun to adapt to the decreased 

productivity.  However, their solution is to permanently open the channel 

to sea, in order to maintain contact with the marine environment, and 

thus providing a passage for marine fish into the lagoon.  This action 

would serve to devastate the already stressed ecosystem.  Instead, we 

need to look for other ways to allow the Toffinu to continue their 

historical lifestyle in a way that will preserve the environment for 

generations to come.  

        There are several recommendations that can be made to address the 

issues confronting the Toffinu.  The first would involve a strict 

regulation of the exploitation of the lagoon.  Fishing practices and net 

sizes need to be strictly regulated and monitored.  While the current 

government infrastructure does contain a fisheries ministry, its 

regulations have not kept pace with the current realities of the 

ecosystem or economy.  As has been explained, the population is desperate 

to feed and support itself from a resource that is unable to adequately 

provide for those who depend on it.  Medokpokonou is just one adaptation 

to this reality.  It is relatively easy for the government to enact 

regulations.  The more difficult task is their enforcement.

        There is an existing government agency that has greater contact 

with the village leadership, as well as the population on a more frequent 

basis.  The Ministry for Rural Development already maintains close ties 

with the lagoon  villages to aid in their progress.  Already, the local 

representative acts as a quasi-extension worker providing the villagers 

with information and services, and hearing and addressing their 

grievances.  Aside from the internal village and familial structures, 

this is the closest contact that many have with the national government.  

To extend the duties of this office to encompass some of the duties of a 

fisheries officer, to monitor local fishing practices, would take 

advantage of the already existing framework to provide a more watchful eye.

        Another recommendation involves providing the Toffinu with other 

activities to support themselves, aside from fishing.  This would be a 

government supported/self-selected effort of retraining.  A few people in 

the villages have already seen the merit of finding non-fisheries based 

occupations.  Others need to be encouraged to do the same and the state 

can help provide the opportunities for them.  Cooperatives can be 

established along interest lines to promote crafts and trades.  Groups to 

teach such skills as basket making or metal working can be created, and 

also used to market the goods.  These groups can also be used to begin to 

educate those who have not previously had access to formal education.  

Public health issues and contraception can be addressed.  Such groups 

would provide greater organization to the population than is currently 

present.  Additionally, to increase village access to food supplies, and 

to redirect nutritional efforts away from the fishery, the government 

would be well served to provide land for a "land-based" Ganvie, where 

agriculture could be practiced.

        These recommendations are not entirely new.  This type of 

redirection has already happened in an area of the Zou Province.  Faced 

with a declining natural fishery, residents enacted and enforced a 

program to save their natural resource.  To replace the dwindling fish 

supply, they imported a species of carp from a nearby river, and to 

ensure its survival, a ban was enacted to prohibit all fishing in the 

lake for a period of six months, every year.  This regulation was 

enforced by the village chiefs who would enact a hefty fine from anyone 

who disobeyed the prohibition.  This seems to have worked in this area, 

partially because the villages were land-based, and thus there were 

agricultural opportunities present to occupy and sustain the population 

during periods that the ban on fishing was in place.  However, it was not 

an easy transition for a population who had had continuous access to a 

fishery.  In order for the population to be open to such a drastic 

change, they had to become aware of the consequences of continuing down 

the current path.  They had to become accountable for the future of their 

resource, learn how to maintain it and police it when the state did not 

have the resources to help. 

        This would be an even bigger step for the lagoon-based villages 

of Lake Nekoue, where there is no land, to sustain agricultural 

activities.  This is why a comprehensive retraining plan including the 

help of the Benin government is necessary to complete the transition from 

reliance on the fishery.  However daunting, such broad steps are crucial 

to preserve the future of the Toffinu and Lake Nekoue.

        Tourism has the potential to provide funding for village 

infrastructure and improvements, as well as economic benefits to the 

entire country, but the number of tourists has decreased without the 

continued government outlay for international advertising.  If tourism is 

indeed a priority, money needs to be spent if Benin expects to attract 

the level of tourists that it has in the past.  

Additionally, the villagers still do not receive an equitable share of 

the proceeds gained from their exploitation, but so far have been 

unsuccessful at increasing their share of the profits.  Perhaps a second 

fee could be charged that the villagers could directly assess and benefit 

from, one that is more in line with the amount that is currently being 


        The amelioration if the lagoon environment needs to be addressed 

for the benefit of the tourist trade as well.  The continued degradation 

of the lagoon can only have a further negative impact on tourism.  As the 

lagoon ecosystem becomes increasingly constrained, accumulated waste and 

garbage in the water will serve to dissuade visits to the sight.

        A final recommendation would be to greatly increase the amount of 

aquaculture that is currently being practiced.  Figure 7 shows the amount 

of aquaculture production harvested between 1984 and 1991.  In 1984, 

aquaculture consisted of less than one tenth of one percent of the total 

fish production.  In 1991, it had risen only slightly, the increase in 

1987 being due to a funded aquaculture program, which has since bee 

completed .  This level needs to be dramatically increased o a permanent 

basis, as it has the potential to provide supplemental sources of fish 

protein in the Benin population diet as well as an income source for the 

Toffinu (by ensuring their involvement in the project).  Aquaculture has 

already been shown to be a viable part of replacing the nutrition gained 

from the natural fishery.  During the late 1980s, an aquaculture project 

was held outside of Lake Nekoue.  It involved raising a non-native 

species of tilapia.  It was successful for study, but when funding ended, 

it was not continued, and none of its recommendations have been 

implemented.  The infrastructure still exists, however, and if it were 

used to raise native species of tilapia that can be raised either for 

market or for village use, it could take some of the pressure off of the 

natural system.  

Figure 7


Source: World Resource Database, 1994.

Appendix A

Number of Tourists visiting Ganvie, by Nationality, between 1983 and 1988
Nationality     Total Number of Visitors        Annual Average          Rank

France          26,170                          4,361                   1st

Germany         9,320                           1,553                   2nd

Benin           8,430                           1,405                   3rd

Switzerland     4,984                           830                     4th

Italy           3,991                           665                     5th

Holland         2,050                           341                     6th

Canada          1,950                           325                     7th

Belgium         1,862                           310                     8th

United States   1,829                           304                     9th

Austria         1,789                           298                     10th

Togo            1,744                           290                     11th

England         1,429                           238                     12th

Russia          1,216                           202                     13th

China           812                             135                     14th

Ctte d'Ivoire   655                             109                     15th

Spain           638                             106                     16th

Nigeria         605                             100                     17th

Senegal         405                             67                      18th

Japan           366                             61                      19th

Niger           350                             58                      20th

Mali            325                             54                      21st

Ghana           299                             49                      22nd

Denmark         293                             48                      23rd

Sweden          244                             40                      24th

Cuba            123                             20                      25th

Source: Radji, 1991.

Appendix B

Species of fish found during non-flood period and relative abundance:
Toffinu Name        Scientific Name                             Observation

Ewh                 Tilapia melanotherm                         +++++

Djan zavoun         Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus     

Digon               Penaeus duorarum        

Asson               Callinectes latimarus   

Atcha loki              

Tchiki              Ethmalosa fimbriata                         ++++

Wlhtin applo        Megalops atlanticus     

Agossou fofo        Tiilapa guineensis      

Ogban               Elops lacerta   

Tchhmidi            Eucinostomus gerres     

Assui               Pellonula afseliusu     

Ogoun               Sphyraena guachancho    

Oussa               Trachinotus teraiia     

Adjago              Caranx senegalus        

Ossan               Gimnura micrura 


Appendix C

Species of fish found during flood period and relative abundance:

Toffinu Name        Scientific Name                         Observation

Ewh                 Tilapia melanotherm                     +++++

Djan zavoun         Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus     

Digon               Penaeus duorarum        

Hwa                 Heterotis niloticus                     ++++

Aboli               Clarias gariepimus                      +++++

Tonvi               Clarias agboyiensis     

Tchiki              Ethmalosa fimbriata                     ++++

Allidjo             Kribia nana     


Adovi               Hemichromis faciatus    


Sovoun              Synodontis gambiensis   

Ekin                Chromidotilapia guntheri        




Ahotoun             Parachanna obscura      



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