Towards a model of a floodplain fish population and its fishery
- Cite this article as:
- Welcomme, R.L. & Hagborg, D. Environ Biol Fish (1977) 2: 7. doi:10.1007/BF00001412
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A model is developed which describes the way in which the fish populations of African rivers and their fisheries are influenced by the different types of flood Regime. Ichthyomass and fish catch are dependent on both the extent of flooding during high water and the amount of water remaining in the system during the dry season. The relative number and individual weight of fish are determined by the intensity of flooding, whereas the total number surviving to the next year depends more on the low water regime. Catch per unit effort falls with increasing difference between areas flooded at high and low water. A negative log-log relationship exists between catch and the ratio of maximum area flooded to minimum area of water remaining in the system. This relationship of catch to flood ratio may form the basis for a general index for the evaluation of both year-to-year variations within a floodplain, and differences between floodplains. Lines of equal catch are also derived for various combinations of high and low water areas; these might be used as guidelines for the hydrological management of tropical flood-plains.