The Diversity of Fish Species in Ngwerere Stream of Chongwe District in Lusaka Province, Zambia
A study to assess the diversity of fish species, using 5 different mesh sizes of multifilament gillnets was conducted along Ngwerere stream, at sites closest to Kalimba, Diamondale and Chortonel farms. Questionnaires were also administered to randomly selected respondents. Results indicated eleven different species that were captured from the stream over a stretch of twenty Kilometres. It was clearly observed during the study that this stream could support so many fish species due to the abundance of fauna and flora. It was further observed that the cichliidae family dominated the catch with five species, followed by clarias spp and cyprinids. Among the cichlids, O. niloticus was the most dominant although the local fishers indicated that the species started to show up in 2009 after the collapse of Zambia National Service (ZNS) dam. O. niloticus, comprised 22% of the overall catch, implying that it had the potential of colonising and displacing the indigenous species in the stream. The fact that the species was hardy and a mouth brooder like many of the indigenous Oreochromis species, such that it may have started crossbreeding with other species. Furthermore, O. niloticus was perceived to be of commercial importance to the local communities because of the large size it attained in the stream. It was also observed that there was little conservation awareness among the local people. The use of mosquito nets as fishing gear had become so rampant in the area, especially during the rainy season when there were floods. This method of fishing though seemingly rewarding to those practicing it; was one of the most destructive way of fishing. Most of them believed that the fish resource was inexhaustible; therefore, any method of catching the stock could be applied as over time the fish population seemed to regenerate. The stream community was also faced with the challenge of cultivating along the banks, water poisoning through pesticides and sewerage discharges.
Assessing, Diversity, Ngwerere, Chongwe, Stream, Lusaka
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