ALCOM Small Water Body Field Projects

Small Water Body Field Projects

Map indicating where ALCOM SWB is active ALCOM is currently executing five small water body pilot projects. Four of those are sub-national pilot projects with similir activities in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. A fifth pilot project is covering SADC and aims at the development of methods for yield estimation and production enhancement linked with the establishment of a SWB database. All information from the pilot projects in entered in a comprehensive database structure.

Sub-national pilot projects

The projects are focussing on a limited number of reservoirs in each country: five dams in Tanzania (Morogoro region), six in Malawi (Southern Malawi), six in Zambia (Southern Province) and nine in Zimbabwe (Mberengwa and Insiza districts). The indepth studies cover the following aspects:

  1. Physico-chemical characteristics of the water bodies, and more specifically the fluctuations in these characteristics during a whole year. Most reservoirs are situated in dry areas and are build on seasonal rivers. This means that during the dry season the reservoirs reduce in surface area and in water depth while also the water quality changes. This has immediate effects on the fish and the fish production of these reservoirs.
  2. Structure of the fish populations. What are the species present in the reservoirs and how do they cope with the seasonal changes in the reservoirs. Do all species still manage to grow when the water levels are low, or is the natural mortality very high during these periods.
  3. Socio-economic situation of the people that are using the reservoirs. In what way is the fish population managed by the communities living around these reservoirs. What gear do they use. When do they fish and how much do they catch. Is this the optimal way to exploit the reservoirs or are there possibilities for improvement.
  4. Fishing effort and CPUE are determined by a monthly creel survey. This is a 3 day survey done by community members who interview all fishers around the water body to register the time that they fish, the species and quantities of fish they caught and the final destination of the fish (auto-consumption, selling) as well as eventual processing. By this creel survey, total catch can be estimated by extrapolating fishing effort and using the catch per unit of effort for each fishing method or gear.

The pilot projects try to identify the relation between these aspects and come up with answers on how the management of these reservoirs can be optimized.

For more information contact:

The Small Reservoir Fisheries Officer, ALCOM
Mail:       PO Box  3730, Harare, Zimbabwe
Location :  Fisheries Research Unit, National Parks Complex,
            Sandringham Drive, Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: 263-4-734797, 724985
Fax:       263-4-736846
Telex:      260-40 FAO ZW

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