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The Nutritional Value of Brycinus Species from Otuocha River




1.1Background of the study

Today we live in a poverty, malnutrition and hunger prevalent world. It has been estimated that 14 percent of the global population or 852 million people are going hungry.

Micronutrients deficiencies or hidden hunger in one form or the other are affecting more than 2billion people worldwide; 5.5 million children dying of hunger and malnutrition related causes.

The Millennium Development Goals adopted by the world’s government in 2000 set a target at reducing the hungry and malnourished population by 2015. However, hunger and malnutrition still remain the most devastating problems facing the poor in developing countries and we have a long way to go towards eliminating hunger (Conquerand Holub, 2002).

Fish and fisheries can play an important role in addressing hunger and poverty. Fish are rich sources of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Fagade (1992) opined that fish flesh is about the best source of animal protein, better digested than beef and poultry; contains mineral salts and its oil is mainly poly-unsaturated fatty acids with anti-cholesterol factor. He concluded that regular consumption of fish is beneficial to human body. Some other authors noted that increased consumption of fish reduces the risks, abates rheumatoid arthritis, decreases the risk of bowel cancer and reduces insulin-resistance in skeletal muscles (Anon, 2001; Conquerand Holub, 2002).

Brycinus is a ray-finned fish genus in the family Alestiidae. Like other “African characids” were before included in the Characidae but are actually somewhat more distantly related Characiformes. Similar to some other Alestiidae, they are called robber tetras due to their bold and rather carnivorous behavior. They are not uncommonly kept as aquarium fishes, also in their requirements similar to the South American tetras of the Characidae. Unlike these, Brycinus are not well-suited to accompany delicate fishes however, and are better kept with dwarf cichlids and similar small but robust companion.(Alexakis, 1989).

The ray-finned fishes are so called because they possess lepidotrichia or “fin rays”, their fins being webs of skin supported by bony or horny spines (“rays”), as opposed to the fleshy, lobed fins that characterize the class Sarcopterygii which possess lepidotrichia also. The Actinopterygian fin rays fasten directly to the proximal or basal skeletal elements, the radials, which represent the link or connection between these fins and the internal skeleton (e.g., pelvic and pectoral girdles).

In terms of numbers, actinopterygians are the dominant class of vertebrates, comprising nearly 99% of the over 30,000 fish species.  Actinoptergians are ubiquitous throughout freshwater and marine environments from the deep sea to the highest mountain streams. Existing species vary in size, from Paedocypris at 8 mm (0.3 in), to the massive ocean sunfish at 2,300 kg (5,070 lb), and the long-bodied oarfish at 11 m (36 ft). Despite the apparent abundant data on this species, information concerning the populations in the South East, Nigeria is scarce. Accordingly, this paper will base its literature review on the Actinopterygians, or ‘ray-finned fishes on which brycinus shares in class origin (Fagade, 1992).


Below are the aim and objectives of this research:

  • To determine the nutritional value of Brycinus species from Otuocha River.
  • To establish the trace element composition of Brycinus species.
  • To promote investment and research in the breeding and production of Brycinus species

1.3. Justification of the study

Several efforts made to improve fish production have not yielded any positive results due to the numerous problems confronting the industry which is over-exploitation of fisheries resources (Ajayi and Talabi, 1984; Adekoya, 1995; Abdul and Omoniyi, 2003; Eyoet al., 2004.). Despite the non-optimistic report of fish production and consumption, To this end, intensified effort to improve fish production mostly, by efficiently determining the nutritional statue of the Brycinus species in Otuocha river will go a long way in encouraging consumption and the strategic parameters to adopt in such a way that the productive state would be attained. This project will therefore, provide the needed data for further research in this respect.


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Topic: The Nutritional Value of Brycinus Species from Otuocha River

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