Implications of the movement behaviour of African tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus for the design of freshwater protected areas

Francois J. Jacobs, Tor F. Næsje, Eva M. Ulvan, Olaf L.F. Weyl, Deon Tiyeho, Clinton J. Hay, Gordon C. O'Brien, Colleen T. Downs

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5 Citations (Scopus)


African tigerfish Hydrocynus vittatus (n = 35) were tagged with external radio-transmitters in the Kavango River, Namibia, to determine whether freshwater protected areas could be an effective tool for the management and conservation of this species. They were manually tracked in the core study area of 33 km every c. 12 days from July–October 2016 to May 2017 for between 123 to 246 days. In addition, 14 extended surveys were carried out for up to 680 km to determine the total area use of the tagged individuals. Tigerfish displayed at least two behavioural patterns either having high site fidelity with shorter movements or using larger areas with longer movements. Twenty-three (66%) of the tigerfish had high site fidelity using an area of less than 33 km of river, whereas 12 tigerfish (34%) undertook long distance movements of up to 397 km upstream and 116 km downstream from their tagging locations. During the long-distance movements tigerfish crossed the territorial boundaries of Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Of the 35 fish that were monitored, 14 (40%) spent more than 80% of the monitored time in the 33 km study area and 18 (51%) stayed within the study area for at least 50% of the monitored time. These findings suggest that freshwater protected areas may be a useful management tool and we predict that a protected river area of 2–5 km river length could protect 25.9–34.6% of the population for at least 75% of the time whereas protection of 10 km river length could protect at least 50% of tigerfish for at least 75% of the time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1260-1268
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number5
Early online dateOct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2020


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