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The Fish and the Fisheries of Lake Tana

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Social and Ecological System Dynamics

Abstract

The fishes of Lake Tana show impressive diversity and unprecedented uniqueness. The lake harbors the only species flock of large cyprinids in the world, and of the 28 known species, approximately 68% are endemic to the lake. Most of the habitats harboring the ichthyofaunal diversity of this lake are relatively intact, and still naturally attractive. Most of the fisheries development activities are characterized by the traditional reed-raft gillnet fishery and some motorized boat gillnet fishery. Fish production from capture fisheries including Nile tilapia, Large African barbs and African catfish from the lake and its influent and effluent rivers has not yet been able to satisfy the ever-growing local demand for fish. No alternative aquaculture production system has been developed. Current and past research findings depict the importance of the fish and the fisheries in Lake Tana, as well as the challenges that these valuable resources are facing. Fast increase in human population of the Lake Tana Sub-basin and associated human-induced impacts are degrading the natural habitats and negatively affecting the fish and the fisheries. The impact on the fishes occurs indiscriminately and does not appear taxon-specific. However, endemic taxa such as the Large African barbs of the lake can be more prone than other widely distributed species. Further research, development and conservation activities need to consider proper planning and implementation to preserve the fishes and the fisheries in the Lake Tana Sub-basin.

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Correspondence to Abebe Ameha Mengistu .

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Mengistu, A.A., Aragaw, C., Mengist, M., Goshu, G. (2017). The Fish and the Fisheries of Lake Tana. In: Stave, K., Goshu, G., Aynalem, S. (eds) Social and Ecological System Dynamics. AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45755-0_12

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