Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 97, Issue 7, pp 787–796 | Cite as

Bushmeat, over-fishing and covariates explaining fish abundance declines in the Central Congo Basin

  • Bila-Isia InogwabiniEmail author


Fish stocks are declining at alarming rates in the Central African forests but little is known about patterns of fishing pressure for different areas. To contribute to the understanding of covariates that could explain these trends, this study documented the relative abundances of fish in eleven sites in the western Democratic Republic of Congo in relation to human density, distance from the nearest markets and mean numbers of fishing nets. Linear regression indicated that, taken alone, 88 % of observed differences in fish relative abundance correlated with the mean number of fishing nets and 60 % of these differences were attributable to distance from the nearest market. Human density was marginally associated with fish abundance. The study also shows that fish and wildlife relative abundances followed the same trends: where more wildlife species remain, there are more abundant fish stocks. The two conservation messages of this paper are that, as is the case for bushmeat, fishing becomes a problem when the commercial market is its prime driver and a solution to the bushmeat crisis could also reduce over-fishing.


Bushmeat Fish abundance Large mammal Encounter rates Human density Market Mean number of nets 



Data from the Salonga National Park were collected while I was working for the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Data from Lake Tumba were from my work with the WWF DRC Program. Two people reviewed the language and improved the shape and the message of this paper but wished to remain anonymous. Five anonymous peers reviewed the content of this paper and help greatly improve its quality. The writing up of this paper has been made possible through the postdoctoral grant in Aquatic Assessment - Identifying human influence in waters of the Lake Tumba landscape of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Uppsala. Kevin H. Bishop commented earlier drafts of this manuscript. The research in the Salonga National Park was approved by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature and the research in the Lake Tumba Landscape was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Nature conservation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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