Dynamics of the Seasonal Floodplain Fishery of the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Ketlhatlogile Mosepele


Fisheries management, balanced exploitation rates, balanced harvesting, Okavango Delta


Inland fisheries provide vital proteins, jobs and income, for some of the most marginalized communities of the world. Therefore, there is a compelling need to understand the dynamics of floodplain fisheries better because of their intrinsic value to riparian communities. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between fish dynamics and environmental variability. Establishing this relationship is important towards identifying the key drivers of change, restoration and persistence in floodplain fish communities. This paper reviews literature on floodplain fish communities to highlight their dynamics and contribute to their management. This paper highlights the dynamic interactions between seasonal hydrology and nutrient dynamics in floodplain systems. These dynamic processes, coupled with a heterogeneous system, sustain a diverse fish community that is a key source of livelihoods for the riparian community. Dynamic processes within the fish community, such as distribution, feeding and growth are driven by the seasonal flood pulse. Currently, the fishery is managed through a series of classical management approaches which are incongruent with the nature of the fishery. The best management approach is through balanced harvesting, which has inadvertently been implemented by traditional exploitation practices.

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