The aim of this research was to investigate whether the ecology and biology of the Orange River mudfish Labeo capensis were suitable for the species to be used in fisheries.
Three fleets of the gill nets were set, parallel to the shore. One fleet was lifted, and the fish were collected by hand. The two remaining fleets were lifted the next day.
The seine net was pulled for 10 metres within the littoral zone. The net was then pulled towards the shore of the dam and the procedure was repeated four times. The four fyke nets were set parallel to the shore and were left for two nettings nights and then lifted. All fish caught were collected by hand and placed into buckets.
The majority (82.93%) of the fish caught were within the 0-100 mm size class. The 101-200mm and 201-300mm size classes contain similar numbers of fish, while no fish were caught in the 301-400mm size class.
The hypothesis was accepted. Allemanskraal Dam, as of the study period, has a very small juvenile fish population of L. capensis, as only 7 out of 41 fish individuals caught were within the 101- 300mm fork length size class. These results show that the population of L. capensis is not established as of yet, as the research did was right after their breeding season. Historical research has shown that sexually mature individuals of the L. capensis species tend to be a minimum of 300mm SL, 4-6 years after hatching. The population was largely young-of-the-year and may develop into an established population in 3-4 years (after sexual maturity). The L. capensis population in Allemanskraal Dam has the potential to be a fishery species if suitable conditions are maintained. Establishing this species’ potential will therefore allow economically viable fisheries to utilise them sustainably and to their full economic potential.