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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Fish populations and biomass in headwater streams of the Lake Tumba Landscape, DR Congo, 2007–2011

Mputu, Adele; Willen, Eva; Wilander, Anders; Drakare, Stina; Bishop, Kevin; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia

Abstract

The fish biodiversity in the Congo River and its tributaries is extremely rich but the information on fish communities in the headwaters in terms of catch and biomass estimates is rare. Fishes in the running and stagnant waters in this region are of vital importance as a food resource for local residents. This study aimed to describe the fish community, catch, and biomass in the three headwater streams Bambou, Lebomo, and Bongo in the Lake Tumba Landscape (LTL) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Such information is of vital impor-tance as a benchmark to understand the sustainability of the fish population for future generations of residents of the LTL. The field data were collected from 2007 through 2011, including dry and wet seasons. Here we present the results of this systematic, multi-annual study which was the first for fishes in streams of this region. In total, 50 species of 15 families were found in the nutrient-poor brown waters of these streams where high concentrations of humic acids cause a low pH. Among abundant species occurring in all three streams were the cyprinid Enteromius holotaenia (Boulenger, 1904), the mormyrid Marcusenius moorii (Gunther, 1867), the alestids Clupeocharax schoutedeni Pellegrin, 1926 and Bryconaethiops boulengeri Pellegrin, 1900, and the clariid Clarias angolensis Steindachner, 1866. Bon-go Stream was distinguished from the others by a rich abundance of Alestopetersius compressus (Poll et Gosse, 1963). The presence of several species at low pH (between 5.0 and 5.5) is new information that lowers the bottom of the pH interval for these species compared to earlier reports. The maximum total length (TL) of some other species was by 5-20 percentage points higher than those reported earlier. The median weight per unit effort (WPUE) in the streams varied between 30 and 115 g per hour during the dry seasons and between 18 and 86 g per hour during the wet seasons. The fish biomass in the streams varied between 0.05 and 0.7 g & BULL; m-2 with a median 0.14 g & BULL; m-2. This relatively low value compared to other tropical headwaters may be a result of the low pH and dark color of these headwaters. The results of the study serve as a reference point to which future monitoring of fish fauna can be compared for sustainable management of the LTL.

Keywords

acidity; catch; Congo River; fish biomass; fish species; headwaters; humic water; multi-annual data

Published in

Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria
2022, volume: 52, number: 3, pages: 195-208

Authors' information

Mputu, Adele
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Inogwabini, Bila-Isia
Catholic University of Congo (UCC)

Associated SLU-program

Lakes and watercourses

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3897/aiep.52.77638

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/118875