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Fish Assemblages in the Degraded Mangrove Ecosystems of the Coastal Zone, Benin, West Africa: Implications for Ecosystem Restoration and Resources Conservation

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2013.412168    3,676 Downloads   5,251 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Mangrove forests are unique habitats in their function as potential food source and nurseries, and support an important fisheries resource. In the Benin coastal zone, the mangrove fishes have been surveyed to investigate fish species diversity, community structures and ecosystem degradation impacts in order to protect and to improve the mangrove fish resources. Results from wet, high-water and dry season samplings revealed that the two dominant mangrove species, Rizophora racemosa and Avicennia africana, are being intensively degraded for domestic use such as firewood and house building. Fifty one (51) fish species belonging to 25 families were recorded with Eleotridae (7 species), Cichlidae (5 species), and Mugilidae (5 species), the most speciose families. Dominant trophic guilds were detritivores (54.57%) and planktinovores/microcarnivores (30.41%). Six (6) species, Sarotherodon melanotheron, Dormitator lebretonis, Gerres melanopterus, Hemichromis fasciatus, Ethmalosa fimbriata, and Aplocheilichthys spilauchen, dominated the samples and accounted for about 80.27%. Sarotherodon melanotheron constituted the major dominant species and accounted numerically for about 29% of the total catches and 46.7% of the total biomass. The Margalef index of species richness ranged between 2.42 and 4.43, the Shannon-Weaver index of species diversity between 1.39 and 2.27, and the evenness between 0.50 and 0.62. Lower indices were observed for the highly degraded and the moderately degraded sites whereas higher indices were recorded for the less degraded and the restored sites. Species richness, species diversity and dominant species abundance were positively correlated with depth and transparency and negatively correlated with temperature. Multi-species fisheries dominate the coastal zone with Sarotherodon melanotheron, Dormitator lebretonis, Gerres melanopterus, Ethmalosa fimbriata, Liza falcipinus, Mugil sp. and Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus, the major species in the commercial catches. In addition to the mangrove destruction, the hydro electrical dam have greatly modified the Mono River flooding regime, water quality and the fish composition of the Benin coastal lagoon system. An integrated approach of the mangrove resource management/conservation, including intensive mangrove restoration, management of key fish species, freshwater prawns (Macrobrachiun sp.), peneids shrimps, mangrove oysters (Crassostrea sp.), and crabs (Callinectes sp., Cardiosoma sp.), and habitat protection is required for ecosystem recovery and sustainable exploitation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

A. Adite, I. ImorouToko and A. Gbankoto, "Fish Assemblages in the Degraded Mangrove Ecosystems of the Coastal Zone, Benin, West Africa: Implications for Ecosystem Restoration and Resources Conservation," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 12, 2013, pp. 1461-1475. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.412168.

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