The ichthyofauna in the Port of Ngqura, South Africa
AbstractThis study provides one of the first quantitative assessments of a fish community within a pre-operational deep-water port system. Between September 2006 and September 2007 a total of 4 559 fish, representing 47 species and 27 different families, were caught within the Port of Ngqura, Africa’s deepest port, in 1 713 h of shore-angling (2.3 fish angler–1 h–1 ) and 239 h of boat-based angling (2.8 fish angler–1 h–1). Catches included species representative of both estuarine and shore fisheries. The majority (83.0%) of species caught were marine and most were less than size-at-50% maturity (71.4%). The most abundantly caught species were dusky kob Argyrosomus japonicus (25.5%), elf Pomatomus saltatrix (24.9%), garrick Lichia amia (17.7%) and dusky sharks Carcharhinus obscurus (10.7%). Fish assemblages differed significantly (p < 0.05) between three habitats within the port: Dolosse, Quay Wall and Sandy Shore. The Dolosse habitat supported the greatest abundance (3.1 fish angler–1 h–1) and diversity (43) of fish species. The Port of Ngqura is thus functioning as an important habitat for both juvenile and adult fish. The diversity and abundance of fish suggests the potential use of ports and other artificial structures for enhancing local fisheries in South Africa.
Keywords: artificial habitat, fish, nursery area, Port of Ngqura, South Africa
African Journal of Marine Science 2010, 32(3): 491–499