Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | VOL. 48

Fish Introductions in Africa and Some of Their implications

Publication Date Dec 19, 1991


Fish introductions in Africa have been made at various spatial scales from small fish ponds to the largest lakes, primarily to sustain or increase production, though some were to develop sport fisheries and to control unwanted organisms. Some introductions have fulfilled their objective in the short term, but several "successful" introductions have created uncertainties about their long-term sustainability. Lates niloticus, Oreochromis niloticus, O. leucostictus, Tilapia melanopleura and T. zilli were introduced into Lakes Victoria and Kyoga in 1950's and early 1960's; by the 1980's L. niloticus and O. niloticus dominated the fisheries, having virtually eliminated a number of endemic species. In Lake Victoria, the loss of genetic diversity has been accompanied by a loss of trophic diversity; the transformation of the fish community coincided with profound eutrophication (algal blooms, fish kills, hypolimnetic anoxia) which might be related to alterations of the lake's food-web structure. By contrast, the introduction of a planktivore, Limnothrissa miodon into Lake Kivu and the Kariba reservoir has established highly successful fisheries with little effect on the pre-existing fish community or trophic ecology. The endemic species-rich African Great Lakes may be particularly sensitive to introductions. Species extinctions, introgressive hybridization and ecosystem alterations may occur following introductions.


Fish Introductions Lake's Food-web Structure Limnothrissa Miodon Loss Of Genetic Diversity Lates Niloticus Hypolimnetic Anoxia Lake Kivu Loss Of Diversity Ecosystem Alterations Trophic Ecology

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