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Influence of environmental factors on biology and catch composition of Barbonymus schwanenfeldii in a tropical lake, northern Malaysia: implications for conservation planning

Abstract

Very little work has determined the relative importance of uncontrolled environmental factors for affecting fish biology, and how these might influence gillnet catches. This study addresses this deficit for an important Southeast Asian cyprinid (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii). Fish were caught monthly for 12 months using gillnets of three different mesh sizes, each of which was deployed in duplicate at the surface of one of three randomly selected sites in Lake Kenyir, Malaysia, concurrent with determining various environmental parameters and the abundance of phytoplankton (chlorophyll–a). Results indicated that growth co-efficient of B. schwanenfeldii was positively influenced by dissolved oxygen and negatively influenced by total inorganic nitrogen, whereas an opposite result was observed in case of the hepatosomatic index of fish. Water turbidity was a limiting factor only for small fish (mean total length: 15.74±1.10 cm). B. schwanenfeldii could best be caught during the period of high phytoplankton abundance or at the location of high phytoplankton density in the water. Water temperature negatively influenced the gillnet catches of the fish. The remaining environmental factors such as water depth, pH, and phosphate had a weak and insignificant influence (P >0.05) on the biology and gillnet catches of fish. The observed results can be very useful for the ecological monitoring and conservation plans for this species in relation to climate change. Furthermore, the utility of the similar data for other species would be useful not only for regional but also for international fishery by optimizing catches considering environmental conditions.

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Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

Both authors are grateful to the MOHE (Ministry of Higher Education), Malaysia, and the International Islamic University Malaysia for providing financial support through the Grant FRGS19-096-0705 and P-RIGS18-032-0032 projects, respectively to conduct this study. We also thank the MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute) for logistical support during the study.

Funding

The research was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia (grant no.: FRGS19-096-0705) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (grant no.: P-RIGS18-032-0032P-RIGS18-032-0032).

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Funding acquisition, study design, materials preparation, data analysis, original draft writing, review, and editing were done by Mustafizur Rahman; data were collected by Mustafizur Rahman and Ahmed Fathi. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mustafizur M. Rahman.

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Ethical approval and consent to participate

Formal permission for fish and environmental data collection in Lake Kenyir was obtained from the Department of Fisheries, Malaysia (Jabatan Perikanan Malaysia) (reference: Ptk. Tr. 2706 Jld. 1 (19)). Malaysian code for the care and use of animal for scientific purpose (MyCode) was followed to handle all fishes. Animal ethics clearance for this study was obtained from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (reference: IIUM/518/14/4/IACUC) before commencing this research.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Rahman, M.M., Fathi, A. Influence of environmental factors on biology and catch composition of Barbonymus schwanenfeldii in a tropical lake, northern Malaysia: implications for conservation planning. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 13661–13674 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-16502-w

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Keywords

  • Water quality
  • Ecology
  • Lake Kenyir
  • Phytoplankton
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Gillnet
  • RDA
  • PERMANOVA