African Journal of Aquatic Science

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Determining the minimum effective dose of rotenone for eradication of alien smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu from a South African river

MS Jordaan, OLF Weyl


In February 2012 the Rondegat River, in the Cape Floristic Region, was the first river in South Africa where the piscicide rotenone was used to remove an alien invasive fish, smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu. In preparation for this treatment, the sensitivity of smallmouth bass to various concentrations of the rotenone formulation CFT Legumine (5% active rotenone) was evaluated a week prior to treatment using standard toxicity tests to determine the minimum effective dose (MED) that would result in 100% mortality after exposure for 4 h. The MED was 0.0125 mg l-1 rotenone. Adverse effects, including erratic swimming, loss of equilibrium and death, occurred in a dose-dependent manner with smaller fish responding faster than larger ones. Standard operating procedures for the use of rotenone recommend treatment at a minimum of twice the calculated MED. Given the uncertainty associated with rotenone losses through hydrolysis and photolysis under field conditions, and the possible occurrence of smallmouth bass more tolerant than those tested, a concentration of twice the recommended treatment dose (0.050 mg l-1 rotenone) was finally used to treat the Rondegat River for a duration of 6 h.

Keywords: behaviour effects, biodiversity conservation, effective concentration, mortality, rotenone toxicity

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2013, 38(Suppl.): 91–95
AJOL African Journals Online