A preliminary survey of the estuaries on the south coast of South Africa, Cape St Blaize, Mossel Bay - Robberg Peninsula, Plettenberg Bay, with particular reference to the fish fauna

James, N.C. and Harrison, T.D. (2008) A preliminary survey of the estuaries on the south coast of South Africa, Cape St Blaize, Mossel Bay - Robberg Peninsula, Plettenberg Bay, with particular reference to the fish fauna. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 63 (2). pp. 111-127. ISSN 0035-919X

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Abstract

The coastal river systems on the south coast of South Africa from Cape St Blaize to Robberg Peninsula were surveyed during October and November 1994. The ichthyofaunal and physico-chemical characteristics of each system are presented and their suitability as estuarine nursery areas is discussed. Five systems (Rooi, Meul, Grooteiland, Kranshoek and Crooks) are outlets of small coastal streams and probably provide little or no habitat for either resident estuarine or migrant marine fishes owing to their small size. Four systems (Maalgate, Gwaing, Skaapkop and Kaaimans) are located within deeply incised valleys and have a permanent connection with the sea. The amount of marginal and intertidal habitat available to fishes, however, is limited due to their morphology. Six systems (Hartenbos, Groot Brak, Touw, Swartvlei, Goukamma and Noetsie) are intermittently open to the sea. Although the Touw and Swartvlei are connected to coastal lake systems, flow within these estuaries is not sufficient to prevent the build up of a sand barrier at the mouth. The Hartenbos, Groot Brak, Goukamma, and Noetsie are also periodically closed by a sand bar. The construction of a dam in the lower catchment of the Groot Brak has affected the hydrology of the system. The two remaining estuaries (Klein Brak and Knysna) are permanently open. In addition to strong tidal currents, the fixing of the mouth of the Knysna Estuary between rocky headlands also serves to maintain a permanent connection with the sea. Mugilidae and Sparidae were represented by the greatest number of species, and also dominated catches numerically and by mass. The fish fauna of all the estuaries surveyed were dominated by the juveniles of estuarine-dependent marine species and estuarine-resident species were also well represented in catches. The estuaries surveyed provide a vital habitat for both marine migrant species and resident species, most of which are endemic to the region.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:estuaries; estuarine nurseries; fish; fish fauna; ichthyofaunal characteristics; south coast; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
ID Code:1240
Deposited By:INVALID USER
Deposited On:10 Nov 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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