Sunday, April 12, 2015

Progress at Onavivi on the SSC Programme: January - March 2015






The Onavivi IAC is one of the largest Government centres, for fish breeding, fingerling distribution and feed production in the Northwest region of Namibia. The centre is currently carrying out three experiments, under the SSC project activities. These experiments   are Genetic selection, sex reversal and fish feed validation. The aim of the report is to highlight briefly on what has happened on each activities during the period mentioned above.

    1.      Sex reversal

The objective experiment is to identify the effective levels of hormone treated feed that will results in the production of 98% mono sex fish.  The experiment started with the conditioning of Broodstock, mating, egg collection, incubation, and nursing.   The experiment is being carried both indoor and outdoor conditions. The figures bellow illustrates the materials and methods used for the sex reversal experiment.
Preparing the pond for cages:
The pond was dried and poles where set in for anchoring the cages.

Figure 1. Pond preparation to set in cages for Broodstock conditions and matting
Figure 2. Cages set with Broodstock condoning and mating (ratio 3:1)

Figure3:  Egg collection
When the eggs are collected, they are sorted into different stages of development.  The eggs are then transferred to the incubators into the hatchery, as illustrated in the in the figure below.  

Figure 4:  Eggs collected and sorted in different stages of development
Figure 5: Incubation at Onavivi hatchery
Figure 6: Nursery stage, sex reversal indoor experiment, Onavivi IAC
Figure 7.  Nursery cages, sex reversal outdoor experiment, Onavivi IAC
Figure 8. Sampling the outdoor experiment, Onavivi IAC

        2. Genetic selection

The objective of the Genetic selection is to enhance the production of quality seeds but the use of different fish strains of Oreochromis andersonii. The three strains are from Kavango, Omusati (Cuvelai system) and Zambezi regions and are all under conditioning stage at Onavivi IAC. There after the mating will start, egg collection, incubation and then nursery. The pictures below shows the cages where the different strains of Oreochromis  anderstonii are being conditioned.

Figure 9.  Cages where the three strains are being conditioned

3. Feed validation

The aim of the experiment is to validate the quality of imported floating feed and the locally produced sinking feed with respect to the growth of Oreochromis andersonii, both at fingerling stages until they reach the marketable size. The experiment will be conducted in indoor and outdoor conditions. The mono sex fingerlings for the feed validation are so far being collected and conditioned.  Although there is a challenge of getting the required quantity and size of mono sex fish, the process is slow, but progressing.

 Indoor experiment
A diet of  42%CP  for  both floating and sinking are used in the plastic tanks, to assess the growth performance of three spot tilapia under plastic tanks, as illustrated below.

Figure 10.  Plastic tanks used for the feed validation experiment
Outdoor experiment
To assess the growth performance of three spot tilapia, until it reaches market size, cage culture is used as means of culture system.   A diet of 32%CP for both floating and sinking will be used. The diagram below shows the cages set in the cage platform at Onavivi reservoir.

Figure 11. Cage platform set in the Onavivi Reservoir for feed validation

                      Figure 12. Cages set in the Onavivi  reservoir for feed validation
Under the South South Cooperation project several equipment has been acquired with the aim to analyse the nutritional composition of the feed.  However due to the limited space (laboratory) where the equipment needs to be installed to be used for analysis was not possible. As a result the feed samples were sent to the local laboratory for analysis.  The laboratory is not suitable, as it is too small and does not have all the required platforms to install the equipment.  However, the Directorate of Aquaculture will see to it, if the budget allocation for 2015/2016 can assist in releasing funds for the renovation of the laboratory at Onavivi IAC. The picture, below show the layout of the current small laboratory with the acquired equipment.

Monday, April 6, 2015

KIFI Bridge Damaged by Seasonal Flood: March-April 2015

Damage visible to the KIFI floodplain bridge
Damage clearly visible to the rear section of the floodplain bridge at KIFI after the first pulse of the seasonal flood at the beginning of March 2015. This section of the bridge was not raised high enough and re-enforced with sement on the slope sides. This caused flood water to eat away the sides during flooding.

The level of water is rising again and will inundate the bridge again this week, the second week of April 2015. If the damage increase staff members will not be able to reach the boat launch or the pump station. 
First pulse of the seasonal flood inandating the bridge at the beginning of March 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Meetings & Events: February and March 2015

1. Third Quarterly Management Meeting: Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries: Otjiwarongo, 2-5 February 2015

2. Administrative Management Meeting: Windhoek: 10 February 2015

3. Staff Meeting KIFI: 16 February 2015

4. Meeting with Headmen Muhero from Kamutjonga Village: 16 February 2015

Mr. Burger with Headmen Muhero from Kamutjonga Village
Headmen Muhero visited KIFI on Monday, 16 February 2015 to discuss issues effecting KIFI and the Kamutjonga village under the Hambukusu Tribal Authority. The meeting was attended by Headmen Muhero, his Secretary, Mr. Edward and several of his council members.  Mr. Burger (Deputy Director: KIFI), Mr. Sitengu (Chief Fisheries Biologist: KIFI) and Mr. Titus represented KIFI. Ms. Sakana a Ranger from Mahangu Game Park attended on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Sergeant Shanombe attended on behalf of the Namibian Police at KIFI. 

Matters arising from the previous meeting that was held on 21 February 2014 were discussed.Several new issues were added to the agenda for the meeting. The minutes of the meeting is available on request.

5. Poisons Workshop: Poppa Falls: 17-19 February 2015

6. Senior Management Meeting MAWF: 23 February 2015

7. Aquaculture Permit Stakeholder Meeting: Windhoek 26 February 2015

8. Minister's Staff Address: Windhoek 25 February 2015

11. Cooperative Advisory Board Policy Review Workshop: Windhoek ,11-13 March 2015

Honourable John Mutorwa, Minister of  the MAWF officially opening the CAB Policy Review Workshop
One of the major proposals discussed during this workshop was the creation of an Agency to deal with Cooperative issues

12. Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Sectoral Review and Planning         Workshop:Windhoek 24-27 March 2015

The review of MAWF’s ASEP took place in Windhoek from 24 March 2015 to 27 March 2015.  The ASEP contains desired outcomes and strategic initiatives to be pursued through various programmes and projects to ensure the successful implementation of the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).
Stakeholders to this sector was well represented and actively promoted the inclusion of four projects in the ASEP, namely the implementation of the rangeland management policy and strategy (five pillars for agriculture and one pillar for forestry), the common vision for the livestock and meat industry, as well as subsidised loans for debushing through Agribank.

MAWF staff and stakeholders attending the workshop

13. World Wetlands Day Celebrations: KIFI 25-26 March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Joint Fish Biodiversity Surveys- Highlights From The Okavango Delta Low Water Survey: December 2014

Joint Fish Biodiversity Surveys- Highlights from the

Okavango Delta Low Water Survey 
Maun, Botswana 
December 2014

Full report available on request


The formation and general mandates of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) between Botswana and Namibia has been reported in previous reports. However, in summary a Trans-boundary Fisheries Management Plan for the Okavango/Kavango/Cubango Basin was formulated under the auspices of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) between Botswana and Namibia, and this serves as a guiding framework and created a platform for establishing a joint fisheries monitoring system for the two countries. The SAREP programme based in Maun, Botswana coordinated and funded meetings that saw the development of the fisheries management plan. The monitoring system is essential for providing a framework for collaborative research and enhances the scientific knowledge base that will direct conservation initiatives and ensure the sustainable use of the fisheries resources of the shared water course. 

       Brief background on joint fish biodiversity surveys 

One of the key activities listed in the management plan and presently ongoing is the joint fish biodiversity surveys. It was planned that two fish biodiversity surveys be conducted in 2014 (during low and high water period). In Namibia the first survey was conducted from the 6th to 19th May 2014 (high water) and the second was conducted between 6-18 October 2014 (low water) while in Botswana the first survey was conducted between June 23 and July 6, 2014 (high water) and the second was conducted between 26 October and 5 November, 2014 (low water). The scope of this report is however limited to the low water Okavango delta fish biodiversity survey.

Survey overall objective                                                          

The main objectives of joint surveys are to standardise fisheries research methods and develop a long term transboundary fisheries database that will facilitate the development of sound and scientific information-driven fisheries management strategies for the Cubango/Kavango/Okavango basin.    

The study area

Description of the Okavango delta

The Okavango delta comprises of a mosaic of permanent marshlands that are interconnected with permanent streams, lagoons, permanent moderate to densely vegetated floodplains, seasonal floodplains and salt islands. Structurally, the delta has two parts; the floodplain system below Popa Falls represents the beginning of the panhandle which becomes progressively more pronounced as the river enters into Botswana while the other part is the delta proper with wide permanent swamp land. 

The Okavango/Kavango/Cubango River altitude is approximately 1100m upon entering Namibia and 1000m when leaving Namibia into Botswana. Therefore, generally the regional terrain is gently undulating with less than 2 m gradient within the Okavango delta. The low topographic gradient of the delta results in low flow velocities with most water flow occurring in streams and partially in vegetated floodplains. Therefore, the flow velocities of the entire system are lowest in the Okavango delta. Also, the flood wave arriving is markedly attenuated as the water spreads through the wider swamp area of the delta while the system in Namibia and Angola comprise of predominantly of narrow floodplains with 95% of the flow carried in the main river. The delta culminates in a dead end so most of the water is lost through evapotranspiration while a small proportion contributes to: ground water recharge, replenishing Lake Ngami water resources and contributing to the closed water balance of Mopipi dam in Orapa via the Boteti River.

Hydrology of the Cubango basin

The basin is home to the Okavango River and its major tributary Cuito River with a total basin area of 530 000 km2 spread along three countries. The magnitude of rainfall events are highly varied along the stretch of the Cubango basin with average annual rainfall gradually decreasing from 1000 mm from the head waters to approximately 500 mm at Rundu and 450 mm within the Okavango delta. The rainfall season in the basin is from November to April while the flood season extends up August in the furthest parts of the Okavango delta.

The water flow is contributed by rainfall events of approximately 1000 mm per year occurring in the upper catchments having a surface area of approximately 135 000 km2 that is situated within Angola. About 95% of the generated water flow is carried by river while the vast distance between the head waters to the Namibia stretch of the river and the delta ensures that a significant period passes between the occurrence of rainfall events in Angola and the arrival of the flood wave in Namibia and the Okavango delta.  

Sampling stations and setting types 
Click on image for better view

Snakes very active at KIFI with autum around the corner

 Puff Adder
Several snakes made their appearance at KIFI the last few weeks. Mr. Burger had to relocate two Mozambique Spitting Cobras that visited his house. He also encountered a 3.5m Black Mamba in a tree near his house last week. KIFI staff killed a massive Puff Adder (picture) and a Mosambique Spitting Cobra when they were cleaning around the workshop on Tuesday 31 March 2015. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Workshop to Review Aquaculture Training Documents for Technicians and Fish Farmers: Ongwediva 23-27 March 2015


The South South Cooperation Programme through Output 2: "Improved capacities of fish farmers through effective extension services and transfer of technology facilitated by the Directorate of Aquaculture (DoA)" has developed training materials on fish farming in Namibia; and on-job training courses on aquaculture practises to fish farmers throughout the country. These were developed by FAO appointed consultants and as final activity must be revised by the DoA before implementation. The DoA therefore organized the workshop in Ongwediva from 23 to 27 March 2015 for this purpose.
Fisheries Research Technicians and Biologists attending the workshop.  Photo courtesy Dr. Dihn Van Trung

The first 3 days of the workshop was spend to finalise the aquaculture compendium (consisting out of 8 lessons  regarding technical guidance for technicians) and the remaining 2 days was dedicated to the final scrutiny of 6 Aquaculture lessons for fish farmers. The training documents revised at this workshop will be sent to FAO FIRA for technical comments before using it as formal training documents 

The workshop was attended by 20 key participants  from 5 duty stations (Caprivi Regional office, KIFI, Rundu office, Ongwediva & Onavivi IACs, Hardap IAC and Head office) 

The way forward:

  • The 8 lessons used for technicians will be loaded on the website of the MFMR (the links to these lessons will be punlished on this site as well under a dedicated Page for AquacultureTraining materials)
  • The 6 lessons used for fish farmers will be translated into local languages before publishing 

Sunday, March 22, 2015


   Mikael N. Ekandjo (CFRT)
  Gosbert Hamutenya (SFRB)

 October 2014  

 The full report is available on request


The Kunene River originates in the Bie plateau, close to Huambo at about 1750 meters above sea level. The upper 400 km are relatively steep, whereas the middle section has a lower gradient forming a marshy floodplain. When meeting the Namibian border at Ruacana, the river forms a 120 m waterfall and the remaining distance to the sea is steep with a gradient of 1:447. From Ruacana the fast flowing river forms the border between Angola and Namibia. (Tvedten et al 1994) Due to the low population density and the fact that the Himba and Zemba that inhabit the area along the lower Kunene do not utilise the fish as food, the fish stocks are presently not exploited to any significant degree (Tvedten et al 1994, Hay et al, 2008). According to Tvedten et al, (1994), the proposed second hydropower scheme on the lower Kunene River may have an impact on the current situation of freshwater fisheries exploitation as the construction work may brings in fish eater populations from other regions that may influence the local Himba/Zemba communities to start eating fish. In Total 46 fresh water fish species were found in the Namibian part of the Kunene River in the past years. Of those 46, five are endemic to the Kunene River (Hay et al, 2008).
The biological assessment of fish species have been carried out over years. To date, there are data available since 1994, however due to budgetary constraint; this survey was not conducted during 2013. It is therefore a tradition that a similar survey is carried out each and every year during the same season and at designated stations. This is done so that data recorded are comparable to those collected other years. These surveys are carried out, focussing on the biological assessment of the fishery of each river system. This includes species composition, sizes in terms of length and weight as well as reproductive stages. This specific report will mainly focus on species composition at various stations, catch per unit effort (CPUE) and lastly will compare this survey’s fish catches to that of December 2012.

                 1.1.     Study area

The area sampled is part of Kunene River along the Namibia Angola border. Four stations were sampled along the Kunene River, plus Olushandja Dam (Etaka) that directly receive water from the Kunene River via the Kallueque- Oshakati Canal. The four stations along the river are: Hippo Pools, just downstream of Ruacana Hydropower Station, Swartboisdrifft, further downstream of Ruacana, Epupa, immediately upstream of the falls and Otjinugua, further downstream of Epupa Falls (Figure 1). These are among some other stations that have been sampled along the Kunene River for many passed years.
Fig.1. A map showing a study area with various stations sampled (adopted from Hay et al, 2008) 
 Table 1. A table showing sampling stations and their GPS coordinates


                 2.1.     Materials used

        Two panels of gill nets consisting eleven different mesh sizes were used in this survey. 
        The eleven different mesh sizes (12, 16, 22, 28, 35, 45, 57, 73, 93 118 and 150 mm) of 10 m length, multifilament brown gill nets. 
        A 10 m drag net was used to sample smaller fishes that are not caught in gillnets A GRAMI GPS with 5 m accuracy was used to record the positions of sampled sites. 
        A boat mounted with a 25hp engine was used in the river to set nets.
        Two 4x4 cars were used to felly equipments and personnel’s
        A total of six personnel were involved in this survey
        Pasgear habitat and record forms were used to record the data
        Plastic bags and mesh tags were used to carry and indentify catches from each net separate respectively.

                 2.2.     Participants

1. Mikael N Ekandjo (CFRT, Rundu)
2. Gosbert Hamutenya (SFB: Rundu)
3. Erasmus P. Haimene (FRT: Epalela)
4. David Kandunge (FRT: Onavivi)
5. Ismael Kapuka (FRT: Epalela)

Fig. 2. Specimens of a Barbus poechii like species that is referred to as Barbus cf trimaculatus in this report 


3.1. Species Diversity and the Index of Relative Importance

A total of 30 fish species were recorded during the 2014 Kunene Annual Biological survey. The recorded species were ranked based on the Index or Relative Importance (IRI). Of the 30 species caught, the most important species in terms of number was Brycinus lateralis a small characin, amounting to 28.8 % in terms of numbers with an IRI of 36.2 % (Table 1.). This is followed by another characin, Micralestes acutidens with 20.8 % in terms of number, with an IRI 15.3 %. Schilbe intermedius and Labeo ansorgii were the third and fourth most important species caught in terms of both number and weight accounting for 6.5% and 4.4 % in terms of number respectively. However Labeo ansorgii accounted for 12.9 % of weight as compared to Schilbe intermedius 10.1%. With a combination of both weight and numbers, Schilbe intermedius has a high IRI (10.9% as compared to Labeo ansorgii 7.4%.

Although the Kunene River is not exploited commercially, the possible important commercial species such as tilapia and Clarias were among the lowest important species in terms of IRI. This shows that although they are recorded, they may be in a limited numbers as compared to other species.

Measuring and weighing the catch at Swartbois’drif Kunene River, this also involve teaching other participants on features to check when identifying fish species 


1. The results from this survey indicated that Kunene River is dominated by two smaller characins, Brycinus lateralis and Micralestes acutidens. Tilapias and Clarias are present in a limited numbers.

2. The survey shows no significant differences in CPUE per station, however inter-station differences were observed with Epupa showing a high CPUE in terms of weight while Etaka showing a High

3. CPUE in terms of numbers. Overall, Swarbois’drif recorded the most number of species where as Epupa recorded the least number of species.

4. The two surveys, December 2012 and October 2014 did not show any significant differences in terms of CPUE.


1. There is a need for these monitoring and data collection to continue so that data collected over time can be compared to observe the trends.

2. There is a need for a genetic study to study if there are any hybrids between B. poechii and B. trimaculatus.

3. From the results shown by the analysis, this particular survey can be conducted any time between October and December.

4. It is recommended that an inflatable boat be procured to be used in the Kunene Biological Survey replacing the aluminium boats that are always damaged by rough terrain along the Kunene River.

5. The Kunene River mouth should be included as a sampling station