Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zambezi River otolith collection field trip report, July 2014





Participating  researchers: PhD students: Geraldine Taylor and Richard Peel 

Introduction  
This field trip is part of a larger project on the Zambezi, Kavango and Kwando rivers and Lake Liambezi in Namibia which aims to improve knowledge of the aquatic ecosystems supporting fisheries through studies on fish population dynamics, food webs, nutrients and biodiversity. The research is undertaken primarily by two PhD students: Richard Peel and Geraldine Taylor through Rhodes University.  

The project is funded mainly by the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) and co-funded by the South African National Research Foundation and Nedbank Namibia’s Go Green Fund. The project is administered by the Namibia Nature foundation and involves several collaborating institutions including the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Rhodes University, University of Namibia and the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Permission to carry out this research in the Sikunga Channel was granted by the Sikunga Conservancy.  The field trip was carried out from the 13th to the 23th July 2014. The objective of the trip was to collect otoliths from six species of fish (the striped robber Brycinus lateralis, the silver catfish Schilbe intermedius, blunttooth catfish Clarias ngamensis, sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus, purpleface largemouth Serranochromis macrocephalus, and African pike Hepsetus cuvieri) for ageing purposes. In fishes, factors which influence metabolic rates (e.g. temperature or spawning) are reflected in the growth of calcified structures such as scales and otoliths and result in the appearance of alternating opaque and hyaline growth zones (Figure 1). When counted, these growth zones are used to estimate age, which is necessary for the determination of growth rates. The growth rates of these species will be compared between the Zambezi, Kwando and Kavango rivers to assess if previously described differences in growth rates reported by Peel (2012) for three commercially important cichlid species (threespot Oreochrmois andersonii, greenhead Oreochromis macrochir, and redbreast Coptodon rendalli), are consistent across species with different life history characteristics. 

In addition to the main objective of collecting otolith samples for growth rate comparisons, gillnet catches in the Sikunga Channel were compared to those obtained in 2011 to assess whether catches have improved since the channel was protected by the Sikunga Conservancy in mid 2012.  
Figure 1. An 11 year old threespot (Oreochromis andersonii) otolith (sectioned) illustrating the alternating opaque and hyaline growth zones used to estimate age. 
Sampling  
Fish samples were collected using multifilament and monofilament gillnets, baited longlines and by angling. Catch per unit effort data was recorded for the gillnets and longlines. Target species were measured, weighed, sex and stage of development were determined, stomach contents were examined, and otoliths were extracted. A total of 18 gillnet nights, nine longline nights and nine longline days were recorded for catch per unit effort data.  

A total of 623 otolith samples were collected from the six target species and any other cichlid species caught in the nets. This total consisted of 183 silver catfish, 210 striped robbers, 81 sharptooth catfish, 1 blunttooth catfish, 58 purpleface largemouth, and 80 African pike. In addition stomach content data was collected from all of the target species, which will be used in the food web analysis of these river systems.  

Comparison of catches in the Sikunga Channel between 2011 and 2014  
Catch per unit effort in numbers and weight has increased slightly since 2011 (Table 1). The species composition of the catches remains very similar, with slightly more species present in the current catches compared to the 2011 catches. It must be noted that this increase in CPUE since 2011 in the channel has come about despite the definite decline in CPUE in the main river recorded by both the community monitors for the Community Conservation Fisheries in KAZA Project (Figure 2B) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (Figure 2C) (Tweddle 2014).   

Table 1 The catch per unit effort (CPUE) for 2011 and 2014 in both average number of fish caught per gillnet and average weight of fish caught per gillnet.  
Figure 2 Evidence for decline in CPUE in the Upper Zambezi River fishery taken from B) data recorded by community monitors at four stations along the Zambezi River and C) Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources experimental gillnet data collected from various stations along the Zambezi River.  

References  
Peel, R. 2012. The biology and abundance of three cichlid species from the Kavango and Caprivi regions, Namibia. MSc Thesis, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia.  
Tweddle, D. & Hay, C.J. 2014. Co-management of Upper Zambezi Fisheries, vital natural resources for floodplain communities. KIFI Science Forum, 12th-14th August 2014, Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute, Divundu, Namibia.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

KIFI SCIENCE FORUM: 12-14 AUGUST 2014


Theme: 

"Towards sustainable utilization of aquacultue and inland capture fisheries"


The KIFI Science Forum took place at Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute. It was well attended by Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) officials, scientists and stakeholders involved with Inland Fisheries research on the Zambezi, Kavango, Kunene and Orange river drainage systems as well as aquaculture practitioners in Namibia.

Participants were welcomed by the Permanent Secretary( MFMR), Ms. Ulitala Hiveluah. The Honourable Chief Samuel Ankama, Deputy Minister for the MFMR officially opened the forum. Dr.Olaf Weyl from SAIAB delivered the key note address on "Transferring research results into management" 

A total of 39 presentations were presented by several speakers over the 3 day period. All the presentations and photos will be uploaded soon.

The Science Forum Programme and some of the presentations with authors concent are available at: https://app.box.com/s/89y1gkcr62e8w2lhrfh2

Request for other presentations on the programme at: aquaculturenam@gmail.com



Ms. Ulitala Hiveluah, PS of the MFMR welcoming participants to the KIFI Sciecce Forum
Honourable Chief Ankama, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources officially opening the
KIFI Science Forum
Dr.Olaf Weyl from SAIAB delivered the key note address on "Transferring research results into management" 
Some of the participants attending the forum

Saturday, August 2, 2014

MISSION REPORT ON THE JOINT BIOLOGICAL SURVEY CONDUCTED BY ANGOLA, NAMIBIA AND BOTSWANA: JUNE-JULY 2014




By: Christopher Munwela, Focal person

Introduction

The Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Plan of the Okavango/Kavango/Cubango Basin was formulated under the auspices of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) between Botswana and Namibia with an aim of establishing a joint fisheries monitoring system between the two countries that will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of shared fisheries resources of the concerned riverine system. This was in realization of the fact that fish resources of a shared river system cannot be managed by individual riparian states. The scope of participation was further expanded to include Angola during implementation phase as the flood waters originate in Angola; hence whatever happens in Angola has a direct impact on the downstream. The Management Plan therefore came up with a number of activities that are to be implemented jointly by the participating countries (Angola, Namibia and Botswana). The SAREP programme based in Maun, Botswana coordinated and funded meetings that saw the development of the fisheries management plan. The countries agreed, to have two joint biological fish surveys (during low and high water) each year and the first one took place in May 2014 with Namibia being the host country. The second one was recently conducted in June in Botswana and the data was analyzed and draft report. The survey in Cubango, Angola is not yet conducted ...

1.1       Survey overall objective

The main objective of the joint surveys is to standardize fisheries research methodology of the three riparian states in order to ensure coordinated data collection, analysis and report writing with a view to enabling easy comparison of research findings of all participating countries. The standardized research methodology developed in the joint surveys will then be used by researchers of each respective country.
Specific Objectives
1.    To standardize fisheries research methods
2.    To ensure coordinated data collection methods
3.    To conduct basic data analysis
4.    To produce a basic joint survey report
5.    To build capacity for fisheries research
6.    To recommend the way forward

a) Low water survey in Namibia and Botswana
It was agreed that low water fish biological survey should be conducted early October in both countries. As in the joint biological Surveys carried out in Namibia, the overall objective of site selection is to compare a heavily fished area with an unfished one.
Namibia as the host will provide boats and nets. Each participating country will do their own logistical arrangements.
b) Data Analysis
It was agreed that participating countries should avail data that they have been collecting through their own biological surveys to facilitate joint analysis in order to establish the trends of the fish resources of the Kavango and Okavango riverine system.

C) Meeting at Okavango Research Institute (ORI), University of Botswana
The research team attended the meeting at ORI where issues of joint fisheries management were discussed. ORI is a major repository of the data around the Kavango basin. Mr. Mosepele, a fisheries researcher at ORI at the institute expressed his happiness that finally countries are collaborating and reiterated his support and willingness to work in both countries. ORI proposed a network of fisheries scientists should be created in Southern Africa to meet periodically and put recommendations of fisheries management in the SADC Region.
D) Development of a data base for the Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Plan Programme
As a way of ensuring information sharing, data management and comparison of research findings amongst participating countries, it was agreed that a fisheries database need to be developed. It was further agreed that the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) should be brought in and be a major player in this program as ORI is currently undertaking extensive research in the Okavango delta including Lake Ngami; hence its involvement will be highly valuable.

E) Recommendations and Way Forward
The team felt that since the joint survey is a step forward, there is a need for management of riparian states to meet and find a way of bringing Angola on board 
 It was agreed that Botswana, as a host country, should organize promotional material such as T-shirts or bags as a way of showing visibility of the Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Plan project.
 It was agreed that for smooth continuity and consistency in the standardization process, member countries  to send the same officers to participate.

A focus should be put on KIFI to be a leading research institute where the data collected should be analyzed and stored. This should be done by benchmarking with other institution like ORI.
The team will also meet to discuss and come up with a draft proposal on the closed season in the Zambezi Region  for consideration before end August 2014. 

I)           Photos depicting data collection and capturing


ANGOLA/NAMIBIA/BOTSWANA KAVANGO RIVER HIGH WATER JOINT BIOLOGICAL FISH SURVEY CONDUCTED IN NAMIBIA: 6TH -19TH May, 2014





KAMUTJONGA INLAND FISHERES INSTITUTE

1.               Introduction

The Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Plan of the Okavango/Kavango/Cubango Basin was formulated under the auspices of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) between Botswana and Namibia with an aim of establishing a joint fisheries monitoring system between the two countries that will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of shared fisheries resources of the concerned riverine system. This was in realization of the fact that fish resources of a shared river system cannot be managed by individual riparian states. The scope of participation was further expanded to include Angola during implementation phase as the flood waters originate in Angola; hence whatever happens in Angola has a direct impact on the downstream. The Management Plan therefore came up with a number of activities that are to be implemented jointly by the participating countries (Angola, Namibia and Botswana). The countries agreed as one of the core activities to have two joint biological fish surveys (during low and high water) each year with the first one scheduled to take place in May 2014 with Namibia being the host country.

1.1            Survey overall objective

The main objective of the joint surveys is to standardise fisheries research methodology of the three riparian states in order to ensure coordinated data collection, analysis and report writing with a view to enabling easy comparison of research findings of all participating countries. The standardised research methodology developed in the joint surveys will then be used by researchers of each respective country.
Specific Objectives
1.     To standardise fisheries research methods
2.     To ensure coordinated data collection methods
3.     To conduct basic data analysis
4.     To produce a basic joint survey report
5.     To build capacity for fisheries research
To recommend the way forward

2. Study Area
Figure 21 Map of the part of the Kavango River Basin under Joint Biological Monitoring
 Joint monitoring surveys will be focused on the marked stretch of the Kavango River system as shown in Figure 2.1. Three sites have been identified on the Namibia stretch of the river system as indicated in the map and subsequently fish collections were done at these sites during the high water floods.

Aquatic Animal Course for SADEC Veterinarians at Rhodes University, Grahamstown 14th – 21st July 2014

By Victoria Mumba: 

Introduction
The Aquatic Animal health training course took place at the Rhodes University in the department of Aquatic Animal health in Grahamstown. This introductory training course was organized by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), DAFF (Department of Forestry and Fisheries) South Africa and Rhodes University. The course was attended by 10 SADEC country veterinarians and fisheries officers dealing with aquatic animal health.

The aim for the training course was to expose vetenarians to basic aquaculture fish farming practice, develop an Aquatic Animal health management programme for their respective countries and collaboration for countries sharing water bodies that deal with OIE recognized infection and non infection diseases affecting aquatic animals.

Topics covered during training course
1.     Introduction to aquaculture and biosecurity measures in aquaculture
2.     Sampling procedures and diagnostic techniques
3.     Basic principles of fish health management
4.     Non-infectious diseases, water quality and environmental issues
5.     Infectious diseases
6.     Applied anatomy, physiology, endocrinology and reproduction
7.     Prevention, treatment, control and risk management
8.     Development of aquatic animal health protection systems and frameworks (national and regional levels)
9.     Public health issues
1  Aquatic pharmacology and toxicology

Practical exposure
1.     Basic fish dissection in the zoology laboratory
2.     Artificial spawning for trout
3.     Fish parasites identification in zoology laboratory
4.     Fish Histopathology practical
The aim for the laboratory practical sessions was fish dissection and identification of fish organs, thereafter had to look for fish parasites, virus or bacteria on various fish oragnas. We also looked at already made histopathogy miscroscope slides that would help in recognizing certain virus, parasites and fugus on a fish organ.

Fields trips
1.     Grahamstown experimental fish farm (egg incubation systems)
2.     Port Alfred Marine Research Laboratory (Albalone and Kob farming)
3.     Kob fish farm (East London)
4.     Trout fish farm (East London)
5.     Tilapia fish farm (Grahamstown)


During the fish farm visit, we were exposed to different types of farming systems and fish farming species. 

During the course, assignment was given to develop an Aquatic Animal Health (AAH) programme/system for the different respective countries present and to identify the important key elements in such a programme/system.  The AAH that was developed by respective countries for three different fish species, Tilapia, Catfish and Carp. The main elements that were identified for AAH were:
  • ·       Policy, legislation and enforcement implementation on AAH programme
  • ·       Transboundary diseases surveillance, monitoring and monitoring
  • ·       Capacity building (Laboratory)
  • ·       Research
  • ·       Communication and networking within SADC countries on AAH prgramme
  • ·       Biosecurity management practices
  • ·       Movement protocol and certification
  • ·       Import/export control of fisheries products
  • ·       Disease zoning/compartments
  • ·       Import risk analysis
  • ·       Health certification
  • ·       Emergency preparedness for Aquatic infectious diseases
  • ·       Contingency plan for possible outbreak emergencies
  • ·       National pathogen list for notifiable aquatic diseases

Challenges faced in most countries reporting to OIE for notifiable disease is continuity of surveillance programme due to lack of funds and also the lack of resources such as laboratory facilities. Human Resource is a big challenge in southern Africa for Aquatic Animal health, which is vital in our water system as we are faced with a number of infectious disease on aquatic animals such as Epizootic ulcerative syndrome and White spot disease on fish. Therefore recommendation from the training course and challenges pointed out from different countries were:
  • ·       Funding for EUS and other notifibale diseases is needed
  • ·       Resource mobilation is urgently needed
  • ·       Continuity of participation of focal person and the alternative person in Aquatic Animal health programmes, surveys and trainings
  • ·       Capacity building (on a country level)
  • ·       Strengthen reporting of OIE systems

In conclusion the training with a recommendation of a followup workshop that FAO plans to hold in Septemeber 2014 in South Africa as part of Insecurity and monitoring programme implementation

Kavango River otolith collection field trip report, June 2014


Participating  researchers: Geraldine Taylor and Richard Peel (PhD students)

Introduction

This field trip is part of a larger project on the Zambezi, Kavango and Kwando rivers in Namibia which aims to improve knowledge of the aquatic ecosystems supporting fisheries through studies on fish population dynamics, food webs, nutrients and biodiversity. The research will be undertaken primarily by two PhD students: Richard Peel and Geraldine Taylor through Rhodes University.
The project is funded primarily by the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) and co-funded by the South African National Research Foundation and Nedbank Namibia’s Go Green Fund. The project is administered by the Namibia Nature foundation and involves several collaborating institutions including the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Rhodes University, University of Namibia and the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

The field trip was carried out from the 16th to the 27th June 2014. The objective of the trip was to collect otoliths from six species of fish (the stripped robber Brycinus lateralis, the silver catfish Schilbe intermedius, blunttooth catfish Clarias ngamensis, sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus, purpleface largemouth Serranochromis macrocephalus, and African pike Hepsetus cuvieri) for ageing purposes. In fishes, factors which influence metabolic rates (e.g. temperature or spawning) are reflected in the growth of calcified structures such as scales and otoliths and result in the appearance of alternating opaque and hyaline growth zones (Figure 1). When counted, these growth zones are used to estimate age, which is necessary for the determination of growth rates. The growth rates of these species will be compared between the Zambezi, Kwando and Kavango rivers to assess if previously described differences in growth rates reported by Peel (2012) for three commercially important cichlid species (threespot Oreochrmois andersonii, greenhead Oreochromis macrochir, and redbreast Coptodon rendalli), are consistent across species with different life history characteristics.
Figure 1 An 11 year old threespot (Oreochromis andersonii) otolith (sectioned) illustrating the alternating opaque and hyaline growth zones used to estimate age. 

Sampling

Fish samples were collected using multifilament and monofilament gillnets, baited longlines and by angling. Catch per unit effort data was recorded for the gillnet and longline gears. Target species were measured, weighed, sex and stage of development were determined, stomach contents were examined, and otoliths were extracted.
A total of ten gillnet nights, nine longline nights and nine longline days were collected for catch per unit effort data.
A total of 505 otolith samples were collected from the six target species and any other cichlid species caught in the nets. This total consisted of 221 silver catfish, 96 striped robbers, 102 sharptooth catfish, 36 blunttooth catfish, 21 purpleface largemouth, and 12 African pike. In addition stomach content data was collected from all of the target species, which will be used in the food web analysis of these river systems.

Figure 2: A good sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus) catch from the longline. 

Figure 3: Interesting by-catch from the longline: a large nembwe (Serranochromis robustus) on the left and a silver catfish (Schilbe intermedius) on the right. 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Minister's Annual Staff Address: Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, 25 February 2014

Honourable Minister,  Bernard Esau (MP) addressing staff of the MFMR during his Annual Staff Address in the Nampower Convention Center in Windhoek on the 25th of February 2014

Honourable Minister,  Bernard Esau (MP) addressed staff members of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and members of the media during his Annual Staff Address for 2014 that took place at the Nampower Convention Centre on the 25th of February 2014. More than a hundred people attended the function. The meeting was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the MFMR, Ms. Ulitala Hivelua.
In the key note address, Honourable Esua welcomed everybody present to the year 2014 and expressed his hope that all are well rested, refreshed and ready to engage the new year. He was confident that MFMR staff will plan diligently, work out realistic timelines, adhere religiously to such timelines and avoid falling behind on set targets  for 2014. Missed targets results in wasted resources that must be avoided at all times. The Hon. Minister is confident that MFMR staff will always put our nation first in all that they do in order to improve the well-being of all our people, in line with the stated goals of our national agenda for soci-economic transformation as set out in Vision 2030. He elaborated on several key themes for 2014 as summarized below
  • Work Ethics:  Staff members to comply with employment conditions, core values and working as a team. 
  • Working Environment: Create a conducive working environment as well as a strong institutional culture by adhering to the general chain of command and by supporting and respecting each other. Grievance procedures should be used as a corrective and not a punitive tool.
  • Loyalty and Team Work: Portray a good image of our ministry at all times.
  • Accountability and Productivity: Improve planning and efficient resource utilization by managing our scares resource (finance and time) for the optimum benefit of our country.
  • Integrity: Instil core values of self respect and respect for others within our households and working environment, to stand up against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and to refrain from alcohol and drug abuse.
Part of the audience in attendance
 Hon. Esua further challenged staff members to apply good management and control of the limited financial resources and to ensure successful implementation of Capital Projects within the budget year to prevent the return of funds to Fiscus as it has a negative effect on development. He also encouraged staff members to register for the upcoming national elections. After the Hon. Ministers speech the chairperson. Ms. Ulitala Hivelua opened the floor for discussions.
Mrs. Lucia Haufiku (Deputy Director, IT)actively participating during the open discussion