oa African Zoology - A survey of the fish fauna of Transkei estuaries : part four : the Mntafufu and Mzamba River estuaries

Volume 26, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The Mntatufu and Mzamba Rivers have small catchment areas (178 and 505 km2, respectively) in the forested coastal belt of Transkei and have relatively small estuaries (5 and 2 km long, respectively). Although the annual rainfall is in excess of 1000 mm in this area, the mean annual runoff was less than 70 Mm3 in both cases. Serious floods were not observed during the survey period, while turbidity and sediment loads were usually very low. Salinities were usually high in the bottom water and temperatures in the upper reaches were usually higher than in the lower reaches. The species composition, and seasonal and spatial abundance of the fish fauna of the two estuaries were determined by means of gill nets. A total of 1043 fish (385,8 kg) representing 42 species were caught in the Mntafufu estuary. The orangemouth glassnose Thryssa vitrirostris and V. cunnesiuswere the most abundant fish in the estuary. Numerically 42% of the catch (46% gravimetrically) belonged to the family Mugilidae (11 species) of which Mugil cephalus, Valamugil buchanani and V. cunnesius were the most important. A total of 389 fish (241,1 kg) were caught in the Mzamba estuary. Twenty-five species were obtained with Hilsa kelee dominating numerically. Seven species of mullet contributed 38,3% of the numbers or 54,2% of the fish biomass. The diamond mullet (Liza alata) and the flathead mullet (Mugil cephalus) were the most abundant in terms of biomass. The highest catches in the two estuaries were taken in the lower reaches. Mean number and biomass of fish taken per net was 20,5 fish and 7,2 kg, and 16,2 fish and 10,1 kg in the Mntatufu and Mzamba estuaries, respectively.

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