Proposed approaches to systematic planning of research and monitoring to support a South African inland fisheries policy
Keywords:classification analysis, fishery independent surveys, freshwater fishery, geographic information system, recreational fishing, small-scale fishing
A South African inland fisheries policy will depend on a reliable long-term supply of social-ecological data covering freshwater fisheries at a broad geographic scale. Approaches to systematic planning of research and monitoring are demonstrated herein, based on a fishery-independent gillnet dataset covering 44 dams, and geographic information system maps of monthly and annual climate variables, human land use, and road access in a 5 km zone around 442 dams. Generalised linear mixed models were used to determine the covariates of gillnet catch per unit effort. Such covariates are required for a model-based process to select a subset of state-owned dams for a long-term fishery survey programme. The models indicated a monthly climate influence on catch per unit effort and climatic drivers of fish species distributions. However, unexplained variation is overwhelming and precludes a model-based survey design process. Non-hierarchical clustering of 442 dams was then done based on annual climate and human land use variables around dams. The resulting clusters of dams with shared climate and land use characteristics indicates the types of dams that should be selected for monitoring to represent the full range of climate and land use characteristics. Surrounding land use could indicate the socioeconomic characteristics of fisheries, for example, dams that may support subsistence-based communities that require increased research effort. Finally, although primary catchments could be useful for organising national-scale management, land use cover in the 5 km zone around dams varied widely within the respective primary catchments. Beyond these proposed approaches to plan research, this study also reveals various data deficiencies and recommends additional future studies on other possible methods for systematic research planning.
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