African Journal of Marine Science

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Evidence of deep genetic divergence between populations of an important recreational fishery species, Lichia amia L. 1758, around southern Africa

R Henriques, WM Potts, WHH Sauer, PW Shaw


Lichia amia is an important coastal recreational fishery species with a cosmopolitan distribution in the eastern Atlantic. In southern Africa, it is distributed from southern Angola to northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A recent biological survey revealed differences between Angolan and South African individuals suggesting that they may represent separate stocks. As fishery management decisions should be based on accurate knowledge of population structure, an initial survey of the genetic substructuring of L. amia was conducted on samples collected in southern Angola and South Africa. Assessment of genetic diversity and population structure was conducted using a fragment of the mitochondrial Control Region. Obtained genetic diversity levels were within the expected range for marine teleosts (h = 0.867, π = 0.007), and two deeply divergent (southern Angolan and South African) populations were identified (average φST = 0.78) across the Benguela Current system. These results suggest that Angolan and South African L. amia should be managed as two independent stocks. This work represents the first assessment of population genetic substructuring across the Benguela Current of a valuable coastal fishery resource, and has application for future fisheries management.

Keywords: fisheries management, genetic diversity, leervis, mtDNA, population structure

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(4): 585–591

AJOL African Journals Online