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AFRICAN FISH AND FISHERIES: DIVERSITY, CONSERVATION, SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

By : Dr Vaitheeswaran Thiruvengadam Lecturer, Department of Aquaculture, DMI St. John the Baptist University, Mangochi Campus, Republic of Malawi, Central Africa.

The fresh- and brackish water fish fauna of Africa is highly diversified and comprises over 3500 species belonging to about 94 families. These fishes inhabit a wide variety of habitats ranging from small temporary streams to large and permanently flowing rivers, as well as from shallow and swampy water bodies to large deep lakes, in dry and wet climatic zones.

In many African countries, fishes are a major source of protein and income generation. While in many regions capture fisheries are fully exploited, the development of aquaculture in Africa continues to lag behind its predicted potential. Despite its economic and social importance, the African fish fauna is exposed to many threats, most of which are of anthropogenic origin. The major causes of the loss of fish diversity are the fragmentation or destruction of habitats resulting from stream regulation, the introduction of alien species, overexploitation of fish resources, and pollution.

 

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