The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Ngatunga, B.P. 2001. The need to maintain maximum biodiversity in Lake Nyasa. Pp. 27-30 in: Weyl, O.L.F., and M.V. Weyl (Eds). Proceedings of the Lake Malawi Fisheries Management Symposium, 4th-9th June 2001, Capital Hotel, Lilongwe. National Aquatic Resource Management Programme (NARMAP), Monkey Bay. 272 pp.  

Lake Nyasa fish fauna comprises more than 1000 species, mainly cichlids, and is thus unique among freshwater lakes. But tension exists between motives either to conserve or exploit the fish resource. In Lake Nyasa small scale fishery exploits the inshore resources, principal fish taken are mainly cichlids which comprise up to 90% of the total landings. Cichlids have low fecundity and are k-selected therefore have low rates of recovery in face of stock collapse. Thus what is happening today in Lake Nyasa has great consequences for tomorrow. Such a scenario provides the motive and desire for conservation of the Lake Nyasa fish fauna. We care about biodiversity and we wish to maintain or conserve it because we see value in biodiversity. The term, biodiversity has become so much of a buzzword dominated global environmental debate, that it is often difficult to focus on the critical issues that face society. The six categories of biodiversity values relevant to Lake Nyasa are presented and discussed and the need to maintain biodiversity in Lake Nyasa is deliberated using a poverty degradation feed-back cycle.




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