The relationship between human exploitation pressure and condition of mussel populations along the south coast of South Africa

Rius, M. and Kaehler, S. and McQuaid, C.D. (2006) The relationship between human exploitation pressure and condition of mussel populations along the south coast of South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 102 (3&4). pp. 130-136. ISSN 0038-353




Human exploitation of intertidal organisms in South Africa is an ancient activity based principally on mussels. We studied mussel populations and patterns of exploitation along a 160-km stretch of the south coast. Photographs (100 per site) were taken of the intertidal rocks at each of 14 sites, covering a range of exploitation intensities. Percentage cover was negatively correlated with number of mussel patches and positively correlated with mean shell width. PCA analysis identified groups of sites: a) accessible and unprotected sites: low cover, small mussels, patchy distribution; b) inaccessible sites and sites next to, or within, nature reserves: high percentage cover, large animals, less patchy distributions. Affluent coastal settlements also seem to confer protection against harvesting. Harvester distribution was examined by aerial surveys and combined with information on distance to the nearest beach access point and number of households within 7 km for each site. Sites within reserves and inaccessible sites had low densities of collectors, whereas sites near urban areas and in the Ciskei had the highest densities. All correlations between indicators of human exploitation and condition of mussel populations were non-significant. However, number of collectors showed positive trends with number of patches and negative trends for the two other variables. The results indicate much lower levels of exploitation than in the neighouring Transkei region, and suggest a high degree of background variability in mussel population structure.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Research article
Uncontrolled Keywords:mussel populations; mussels; intertidal zone; South Africa; condition; human pressure; human predation; human exploitation
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
ID Code:357
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:19 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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