Abundance and distribution of fish in the lower Mnembo River, Malawi‐Mozambique uri icon

abstract

  • Endorheic Lake Chilwa is one of the most productive lakes for fisheries in Africa. High human population densities and agricultural practices in the Chilwa catchment have been linked to observed declines of the annual fish catch in the lake. The Mnembo River is a major inflow into Lake Chilwa which has received little scientific study to date. In 2003/2004, fish diversity, abundance and distribution were monitored monthly at three sites in the Mnembo River. Twelve fish species were collected, a subset of the fourteen fish species present in Lake Chilwa. Although Barbus spp. were the most abundant species sampled in the Mnembo, total biomass was higher for Labeo cylindricus (6709 and 10,434 g, respectively). Total biomass of Pareutropius longifilis (1741 g) and Brycinus imberi (1174 g) were also high in the river. Catches of Barbus and Labeo were highly correlated (r = 0.763). Compared with other inflows into Lake Chilwa (Likangala and Domasi), the Mnembo River appears to be less adversely influenced by human populations, with high abundance of Barbus and strong presence of the riverine species Labeo, Pareutropius and Brycinus.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007