IUCN Species of the Day: Oreochromis karonga
Photo credit: George Turner
The Oreochromis karongae, Oreochromis karongae is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This fish is one of three ‘chambo’ species endemic to Lake Malawi, and can be seen in loose shoals in many areas of the lake. Like other Oreochromis, they are maternal mouthbrooders, with the mother protecting the eggs in her mouth until they hatch, and often the juvenile fry continue to use her mouth for shelter when danger is present.
The chambo are the most valuable food fishes in Malawi, and are very important for local subsistence as well as commerce. Populations of this species, however, collapsed in the 1990s as a result of over-fishing, with as much as a 70% decline within 10 years.
This species is, however, very easy to maintain in captivity. Although formal management of fisheries in the lake has been in place since the 1930s, over-harvesting is still a problem. Greater enforcement of harvest levels is vital in order to minimize further losses of this species and other fishes in Lake Malawi.
The latest IUCN Red List assessment shows that 21% of freshwater fish species in continental Africa are threatened with extinction.
Geographic Range of the Oreochromis karonga
Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
To learn more about the Oreochromis karonga, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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