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Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Ecology Research Chair at SAIAB

NRF-SAIAB’s scientific leadership and expertise in freshwater aquatic biodiversity are vital to the national interest when dealing with issues arising from rapid and consistently increasing pressures put on the environment by human population growth and development. Healthy freshwaters are fundamental for life on earth. Fishes in rivers, reservoirs and lakes provide people with food security, employment and recreation. However, freshwater ecosystems in Africa and the fisheries that they support are under increasing pressure from overfishing, loss of habitat, pollution, species invasions and climate change.

Dr Olaf Weyl

To develop effective management strategies to sustain this important ecosystem service, it is essential to understand the ability of fisheries to survive these stressors. However, freshwater biodiversity remains poorly documented, understood and protected. The DST/NRF Research Chair in Inland Fisheries and Freshwater Ecology was recently awarded to Dr Olaf Weyl, Principal Scientist in freshwater research at NRF-SAIAB.

Under the leadership of Dr Weyl, SAIAB co-ordinates multi-institutional collaborations. One such collaboration has involved researchers and students from SAIAB, CapeNature, the Freshwater Research Centre, Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB) and the Universities of Venda, Western Cape, Fort Hare, Stellenbosch and Rhodes. Read more...

 

Understanding human interactions with aquatic ecosystemsNetting is used by subsistence fishers throughout Africa Angling is an important subsistence and recreational fishing technique in South Africa 

The overall goal of the Chair is to develop regional capacity and research on inland fisheries to support their sustainable development.  Research priorities will include better understanding of the biology, ecology and resilience of African freshwater fishes; understanding fish invasions and providing research support for the ecological, social and economic sustainability of South African inland fisheries.

Snorkel and camera surveys are used to obtain densities of stream fishes. Biological dissections are important for sustainable harvest recommendations.

The award of this Research Chair will give increased impetus to this important area of research and understanding human interactions with aquatic ecosystems.

South African Research Chair Initiative