Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 7–24 | Cite as

Towards a model of a floodplain fish population and its fishery

  • Robin L. Welcomme
  • David Hagborg
Main article


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.


Model River fishery Floodplain Population dynamics Fluctuating environments Density dependence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Allen, K. R. 1951. The Horokiwi stream. Bull. Mar. Dep. N. Z. Fish 10: 1–238.Google Scholar
  2. Bell-Cross, G. 1971. Weir fishing on the Barotse floodplain. Fish. Res. Bull. Zambia 5: 331–340.Google Scholar
  3. Cadwalladr, D. A. 1965. Notes on the breeding biology and ecology of Labeo victorianus Boulenger (Pisces: Cyprinidae) of Lake Victoria. Rev. Zool. Bot. afr. 72: 109–34.Google Scholar
  4. Daget, J., N. Planquette & P. Planquette. 1973. Premières donnes sur la dydnamique des peuplements de poissons du Bandana (Cte d'Ivoire). Bull. Mus. nat. Hist. nat. (Paris) 15: 121–142.Google Scholar
  5. Dudley, R. G. 1972. Biology of Tilapia of the Kafue floodplain Zambia: predicted effects of the Kafue Gorge Dam. Ph. D. dissertation, University of Idaho, Moscow. 50 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Dudley, R. G. 1974. Growth of Tilapia of the Kafue floodplain, Zambia: predicted effects of the Kafue Gorge Dam. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 103: 281–291.Google Scholar
  7. Durand, J. R. 1970. Les peuplements ichtyologiques de l'el Beid. lère Note Présentation du milieu et résultats généraux. Cah. ORSTOM (Hydrobiol.) 4: 3–26.Google Scholar
  8. FAO/UN. 1968. Report to the Government of Zambia on fishery development in the Central Barotse Flood Plain. Based on the work of D. W. Kelley. FAO/TA Inland Fishery Biologist. Rep. FAO/UNDP(TA), (2554): 83 pp.Google Scholar
  9. FAO/UN. 1969. Report to the Government of Nigeria on fishing technology relating to river and swamp fisheries in Northern Nigeria. Based on the work of William Reed, FAO/TA Fishery Technologist. Rep. FAO/UNDP(TA). (2711): 90 pp.Google Scholar
  10. FAO/UN. 1969a. Report to the Government of Zambia on fishery development in the Central Barotse floodplain. Second phase based on the work of D. Duerre. Rep. FAO/UNDP(TA). (2638): 80 pp.Google Scholar
  11. FAO/UN. 1970. Report to the Government of Zambia on fishery development in the Central Barotse flooplain. Based on the work of G. F. Weiss. Rep. FAO/UNDP(TA). (2816): 19 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Henderson, H. F. & R. L. Welcomme. 1974. The relationship of morpho-edaphic index and numbers of fishermen in African inland fisheries. CIFA Occas. Pap. (1): 19 pp.Google Scholar
  13. Johnels, A. G. 1954. Notes on fishes from the Gambia River. Arkiv. Zool. 6: 327–411.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, R. P. 1974. Synopsis of Biological data on Sarotherodon galilaeus. FAO Fish. Synop. 90 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Kapetsky, J. M. 1974. Growth, mortality and production of five fish species of the Kafue river floodplain, Zambia. Ph. D. dissertation, University of Michigan. 194 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Kitchell, J. F., J. F. Koonce, R. V. O'Neill, H. H. Shugart, J. J. Magnuson & R. S. Booth. 1974. Model of fish biomass dynamics. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 103: 786–798.Google Scholar
  17. Leslie, P. H. 1959. The properties of a certain tag type of population growth and the influence of an external random factor on a number of such populations. Physiol. zool. 32: 151–159.Google Scholar
  18. Loubens, G. 1969. Etude de certains peuplements ichtyologiques par des pches au poisson. (ler note). Cah. ORSTOM (Hydrobiol.) 3 (2): 45–52.Google Scholar
  19. Lowe, R. H. 1955. he fecundity of Tilapia species, E. Afr. Agric. J. 21: 45–52.Google Scholar
  20. Mann, K. H. 1965. Energy transformations by a population of fish in the river Thames. J. Anim. Biol. 34: 253–275.Google Scholar
  21. Mann, R. H. K. 1971. The populations, growth and reproduction of fish in four small streams in southern England. J. Anim. Ecol. 40: 155–199.Google Scholar
  22. Muncy, R. J. 1973. A survey of the major fisheries of the Republic of Zambia. Rome. FAO, FI:DP 9/10 ZAM 511/3: 69 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Muncy, R. J. (in press). Floodplain fishery of the Kafue river, Zambia, Africa. Afr. J. Trop. Hydrobiol. Fish.Google Scholar
  24. Ratchliffe, C. 1972. The fishery of the lower Shire river area, Malawi, 1972. Fish. Bull. Fish. Dept., Zomba, Malawi 3: 79 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Regier, H. A. & H. F. Henderson. 1973. Towards a broad ecological model of fish communities and fisheries. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 102: 56–72.Google Scholar
  26. Reizer, C. 1974. Définition d'une politique d'aménagement des ressources halieutíques d'un écosyytème aquatique complexe par l'étude de son environnement abiotíque, biotique et antropique. Le Fleuve Sénégal Moyen et Inféréur. Docteur en Sciences de l'Environnement. Dissertation. Arlon, Fondation Universitaire Luxembourgeoise, 4 vols.: 525 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Ricker, W. E. 1946. Production and utilization of fish populations. Ecol. Monogr. 16: 375–388.Google Scholar
  28. Soulsby, J. J. 1959. Status of the Lake Mweru fishery. Ann Rep. Joint Fish. Res. Org. 8 (1958): 30–38.Google Scholar
  29. Stauch, A. 1966. Le bassin Camerounais de la Benoue et sa pêche. Mem. ORSTOM, Paris 15: 152 pp.Google Scholar
  30. University of Idaho et al. 1971. Ecology of fishes in the Kafue River. Report prepared for FAO/UN acting as executing agency for UNDP. Moscow, Idaho, University of Idaho, FI:SF/ZAM:11 Tech. Rep. 2: 66 pp.Google Scholar
  31. University of Michigan et al. 1971. The fisheries of the Kafue River Flats, Zambia, in relation to the Kafue Gorge Dam. Report prepared for FAO/UN acting as executing agency for UNDP. Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan, FI:SF/ZAM 11: Tech. Rep. 1: 161 pp.Google Scholar
  32. Welcomme, R. L. 1967. The relationship between fecundity and fertility in the mouth-brooding cichlid fish Tilapia leucosticta. J. Zool. (Lond.) 151: 453–468.Google Scholar
  33. Welcomme, R. L. 1967a. Observations on the biology of the introduced species of Tilapia in Lake Victoria. Rev. Zool. Bot. afr. 76: 251–279.Google Scholar
  34. Welcomme, R. L. 1970. Les moyens de pche dans les eaux continentales du Dahomey. Etud. Dahoméen. 17: 5–35.Google Scholar
  35. Welcomme, R. L. 1975. The fisheries ecology of African floodplains. CIFA Tech. Pap. 3: 51 pp.Google Scholar
  36. Welcomme, R. L. 1976. Some general and theoretical considerations on the fish yield of African rivers. J. Fish. Biol. 8: 351–364.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin L. Welcomme
    • 1
  • David Hagborg
    • 1
  1. 1.Aquatic Resources Survey and Evaluation Service, Fishery Resourses and Environment DivisionFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations