East Kleinemonde estuary

A recaptured, tagged fish 082 TAG FISH Fish tagging team
Red roman Tsitsikamma National Park Just before releasing a tagged white steenbras

The East Kleinemonde estuary is a small intermittently open estuary on the Eastern Cape coast. Predation and estuary mouth conditions are thought to be the main factors affecting the abundance of individual fish species.

We have been sampling this estuary every summer and winter since 1993. Estuary mouth conditions are logged daily and water temperatures are logged continuously. Over the past two years this estuary has also been the focus of a multidisciplinary study. In 2008 we initiated a stable isotope study on the estuarine food web under a macrophyte senescent phase. This will be compared to that of the neighbouring West Kleinemonde Estuary, which is currently experiencing a macrophyte dominated phase. As well as yielding the best long-term monitoring database of an estuarine fish assemblage, this monitoring programme has improved our understanding of:

  • temporal fish variability in temporarily open/closed estuaries;
  • the factors influencing this variability.