Reproductive biology and breeding of Barbus paludinosus and B. trimaculatus (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in Lake Chilwa, Malawi: implications

  • MA Macuiane
  • EKW Kaunda
  • DM Jamu
  • GZ Kanyerere

Abstract

Barbus paludinosusBarbus trimaculatus were sampled in Lake Chilwa and the Mnembo River mouth between February 2004 and January 2005, using nets equivalent to those used commercially, to analyse their reproductive biology and distribution as a basis for recommending sustainable fisheries management and conservation practices. Total length and fish and gonad weight were measured monthly for both  species. Length maxima for female and male B. paludinosus were 130 mm and 113 mm respectively, and for female and male B. trimaculatus 120 mm and 85 mm respectively. Lengths-at-first-maturity for female and male B. paludinosus were 69 mm and 64 mm respectively, and for B. trimaculatus 61 mm and 59 mm respectively. Lengths-atfirst-capture were 62.4 mm for B. paludinosus and 71.8 mm for B. trimaculatus. Females predominated 3:1 over males in both species. For the Barbus fishery in  Lake Chilwa the optimal stretched mesh size for matemba seine-nets, in terms of rendering the  fishery sustainable, was 10.53 mm. Barbus breed  throughout the year, with a minor peak in April–March and a major breeding peak in October–January. Before the rainy season, Barbus migrate  to the marshes, marginal swamps and the Mnembo River mouth to breed. Fishery management recommendations to ensure successful breeding and recruitment of Barbus into the fishery include: (1) a closed season for active fishing gears targeting Barbus spp. and juvenile tilapias from October to February for the  lake and riverine fishing, (2) the increase of the  permitted stretch mesh size for matemba seine-nets to 10.53 mm and (3) protection of the  marshes, swamps and river habitats which act as breeding grounds for the Barbus spp.

Keywords: breeding grounds; closed season; conservation; marsh areas

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2009, 34(2): 123–130

Author Biographies

MA Macuiane
Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Sciences, Bunda College of Agriculture, PO Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi
EKW Kaunda
Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Sciences, Bunda College of Agriculture, PO Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi
DM Jamu
WorldFish Center, PO Box 229, Zomba, Malawi
GZ Kanyerere
Fisheries Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, PO Box 27, Monkey Bay, Malawi
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914