The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Tweddle, D. 1992. Conservation and threats to the resources of Lake Malawi. Pp. 17-24 in: Lowe-McConnell, R.H., R.C.M. Crul, and F.C. Roest (eds.). Symposium on resource use and conservation of the African Great Lakes. Mitteilungen der Internationale Vereinigung für theoretische und angewandte Limnologie/Communications, Vol. 23. E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart. ISSN 0538-4680.  

Fisheries are of vital importance to Malawi. Catch and effort data on the cichlid fisheries suggest that present yields are sustainable and that the fisheries can be well managed. The ornamental fish trade is dependent on external factors for its survival. Malawi has established a National Park to protect representative populations of the Malawi fish fauna; this has the status of World Heritage Site. Threats to the lake environment are: excessive fishery exploitation, introduction of alien fishes and plants, industrial pollution, and oil exploration with the risk of spills. Deforestation may affect lake levels and hence shore-based infrastructure and also affects the character of affluent streams and spawning of river-breeding fishes. Water abstraction for irrigation and hydroelectric dams may also affect such fishes. Scientists should avoid using emotional arguments when arguing for conservation of the unique fish faunas. The long-term monetary value of the lakes as water supplies, fish producers, tourism attractors, etc. can be stressed. Financial and other assistance to the riparian countries for fisheries management, treatment of industrial wastes, etc. should be included in aid programmes.




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