Monday, November 17, 2014

Landscaping at KIFI: Mr. Burger setting an example

The garden developed over one year at Mr. Burger's house
The Deputy Director for the Directorate Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries at KIFI, Mr. RD Burger has laid down the standard as an example to staff members on maintaining and looking after Government property. He started landscaping at his house (house no 6) upon arrival at KIFI during April 2013. The garden is constantly progressing. Mr. Burger challeged colleaugues at KIFI and other aquaculture centers to emmulate his example. Several staff memebers at KIFI has subsequintly started with landscaping at their houses. At this trend  KIFI will soon be a paradise...!!!

Extra Ordinary Fish Harvest at Epalela Fish Farm: 14 November2014

Honourable Bernhard Esau with Elizabeth Ndiviayele to his right

The Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries (DoAIF) in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) under the leadership of the Director, Dr. Moses Maurihungirire planned this extra ordinary fish harvest event at Epalela Fish Farm to showcase fresh water aquaculture to the general public. Ms. Elizabeth Niviayele and her team from the Northwest sub-Division  did an excellent job in organizing the event.
Dr. Moses Maurihungirire, Director of Ceremonies with Honourable Deputy Minister, Chief Ankama listening attentively

The event was attended by droves of  interested people from the area, potential buyers, MFMR staff, political dignitaries and the media. The MFMR was well represented. Honourable Minister, B. Esua and Deputy Minister Chief Ankama were present. Dr. Moses Maurihungirire guided proceedings as the Master of Ceremony. The Honourable Governor of the Omusati Region welcomed everybody present to her Region and Epalela Fish Farm. Honourable Minister Berhard Esau officially opened the event reassuring the Namibian public about the MFMR commitment to aquaculture promotion in order to address household food security and improve nutrition of the Namibian nation with the  high quality protein of fish produced with aquaculture in Namibia. Elizabeth Ndivayele, Chief Fisheries Biologist in the MFMR for the Northwest Regions then proceeded to brief the audience on the procedures for the fish harvest.  

Honourable Minister B. Esua adressing the audience
Elizabeth Ndivayele briefing the audience on the fish harvest

A total of 6 ton of tilapia (3-Spot tilapia) was harvested in the presence of a pleasantly amused crowd. Large scoops of fish were collected from the pond and eagerly moved up the bank with Honourable Minister Bernhard Esau leading the way. The fish was then transported to the sorting, packaging and chill freezer for sale to the public. A crowd gathered and wated in lines to buy the fresh fish. The MFMR treated the guests and the general public to a delicious fresh fish meal.

Job well done ...!!!  

The North west team from the Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries busy dragging the net for the harvest
3 ton of healthy 3-Spot tilapia from one pond for public consumption
Honourable Deputy Minister Chief Ankama and Honourable Minister Esua in high spirit with the successful harvest
Cuban Aquaculture experts, Mr Eldys and Ernesto enjoying the proceedings
Aquaculture staff from the North west sub-Division busy sorting the fish
Packaging of the fish to be frozen in the chill freezers
Lucia Dula waiting in line for a delicous meal

Members of the public patiently waiting in line to purchase the fresh fish

Broodstock Collection for 2015: Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute

KIFI staff busy collecting broodstock at Kwetse in the Mahangu National Park
The Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries (DoAIF) in the northern regions of Namibia is currently busy collecting Oreochromis andersonii (3-Spot tilapia) broodstock for the Genetic Selection Project to be undertaken at Onavivi Inland Aquaculture Center. 

6th Annual Science Forum of the Benguela Current Commission (BCC): Swakopmund, 13-15 October 2014

The 6th Annual Science Forum of the Benguala Current Commission took place at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainmet Centre from 13 to 15 October 2014. The Forum was officially opened by Honourable Minister Bernhard Esua of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR). 

Read more about the this event on the BCLME website at:

Science Forum 2014:

Participants listening attentively to the opening address of  the Honourable Minister B. Esau from the MFMR

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Stakeholders attending the meeting on illegal fishing in Mahangu park. FRTL: Warrant Makushe (Station Commander: Divundu Police Station), Mr. Sitengu (KIFI), Mr. Horst Koch (Ndovo Safari Lodge), Mr. Shaun O'Driscoll and Otto Grimm from Ngepi Camp. MET staff memebers from Mahangu Park and  Kamutjonga Village Development Council member Mr. Frans Kutenda along with Kamutjonga village members, Fisheries Inspectorate  and 4 KIFI staff members  attended the meeting
Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute (KIFI) called on stakeholders for an extra-ordinary meeting on illegal commercial fishing on the Kavango river in the Mahangu National Park. The meeting was attended by 5 different Stakeholdersholders including the Namibian Police, Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) from Mahangu National Park, Lodge owners, Fisheries Inspectorate and representatives from Kamutjonga Village. Mahangu National Park is currently the only protected area for fish in the entire Kavango river.

Illegal drag netting and fishing of commercial scale in the Mahangu Park has been observed by several individuals. Several arrests were made involving large numbers of fish. The financial rewards of these illegal activities have been motivating the purpetrators to continue with these illegal activities.

The purpose of the Stakeholder meeting was to create a contact network in order for quick response in case people are observed entering or exiting the park.  It was reported in the meeting that illegal fishing is taking place on both sides of the park. It was decided to invite Botswana Police and Parks and Wildlife officials to a follow up meeting in order to address illegal fishing  at the border with Botswana.  Mr. Burger, from KIFI also promised to request for Fisheries Inspectors to be stationed at KIFI for proper control. 

Warrant Makushe, Station Commander of the Divundu Police Station echoed her support to the innitiative. Police officers stationed at KIFI will arrest individuals and charges will also be made by the Fisheries Inspectors.  Lodge owners and Kamutjonga village members were adamant that this activity is destroying the natural resource where it is supposed to be protected and it is negatively affecting the socio economic environment at Kamutjonga and the larger Divundu area. Food security of villagers dependant on quality protein from fish is suffering as breeding fish in the park is being decimated by the illegal drag netting. Lodge owners also reported a sharp decline in catches made by sport fisherman that practice catch and release fishing as a result of the illegal fishing.

A follow up meeting will be sheduled in the near future

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zambezi River otolith collection field trip report, July 2014

Participating  researchers: PhD students: Geraldine Taylor and Richard Peel 

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. 
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.  

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.