Situmbeko Maurice Musuka Confred, Department of Agriculture and Aquatic Sciences, Kapasa Makasa Campus, The Copperbelt University, Chinsali, Zambia.
Nyimbili Bright, Department of Agriculture and Aquatic Sciences, Kapasa Makasa Campus, The Copperbelt University, Chinsali, Zambia.
Haambiya Llyod, Lake Tanganyika Fisheries Research Unit, Mpulungu, Zambia.
Kanja Kennedy, Department of Agriculture and Aquatic Sciences, Kapasa Makasa Campus, The Copperbelt University, Chinsali, Zambia.
Musuka Confred, Department of Agriculture and Aquatic Sciences, Kapasa Makasa Campus, The Copperbelt University, Chinsali, Zambia.
A myriad of reports have indicated presence of the invasive red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus in Lake Kariba Fishery. It was being harvested as bycatch by artisanal fishers. This study endeavored to measure abundance and economic value of Cherax quadricarinatus as perceived by artisanal fishers in Sinazongwe (stratum II) area of Lake Kariba. Interviews employing semi-structured questionnaires were held with artisanal fishers in Sinazongwe (stratum II), fisheries research officers from Department of Fisheries (DoF) at Sinazongwe Fisheries Training Centre and two crayfish traders based in Lusaka who were encountered in one of the five sampled fishing villages. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0 and Microsoft Excel. The inference from this study was that crayfish had increased in abundance in Sinazongwe (stratum II) in Lake Kariba Fishery. This could be due to a combination of factors viz-a-viz: its behavioural traits that enabled it to adapt and thrive in non-native habitats, lack of native predators and the fact that it was not being commercially exploited. The increase in abundance of crayfish had impacted fishers negatively in economic terms by possibly increasing their operational costs as they mended/replaced damaged fishing nets and lessening the value of fish that was caught in their nets but ended up being disfigured via predation by the cray fish. However, studies conducted elsewhere, indicated that crayfish was a source of substantial economical benefits. The same could be achieved by artisanal fishers in Sinazongwe at Lake Kariba Fishery. Nevertheless, for this to materialise, there was need to fully comprehend and address underlying bottlenecks.
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