The knowledge of the use of fishing gear and the ability to negotiate price depend on the information available to the fishers. They draw on social relationships to acquire information relating to fishing opportunities, contributing to knowledge that underpins decision making and behaviour. Shrimp fishers from eight fishing ports in Rivers State, were surveyed to assess how the knowledge obtained by social network members influence their fishing and bargaining abilities. A mixed method design was employed using qualitative and quantitative approaches in which four focus group discussions (FGDs) and survey of 125 shrimp fishers were conducted using interview guide and semi-structured questionnaire. Data were analysed using SPSS software and content analysis. Results showed that 97.6% of the respondents obtained knowledge through handed down traditions. Over eighty percent (88%) of the respondents obtained knowledge from friends and neighbours while 53.6% obtained knowledge through electronic media. Knowledge transfer improved the ability to use fishing gear by more than double while bargaining ability improved average sales of shrimps from ₦1,866.00 to ₦5002.02 per kilogram. Statistically, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in the number of gears operated, length of fishing duration and quantity of shrimps caught before and after acquiring knowledge; however, significant differences (p < 0.05) existed in the bargaining ability and selling cost per kilogram of shrimp after acquiring knowledge from shrimp fishers’ social networks. The study concludes that knowledge of shrimp fishing and bargaining abilities was better transferred through handed down traditions and social networks of friends and neighbours. Furthermore, cooperatives helped stabilize the bargaining system to improve sales.
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