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African Fish Biodiversity, Fishbase and Fishculture

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Author(s): Boden, G. | Musschoot, T. | Snoecks, J.

Journal: Tropicultura
ISSN 0771-3312

Volume: 22;
Issue: s;
Start page: 37;
Date: 2004;
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ABSTRACT
At present, about 28 600 fish species are considered valid, whilst the total number is estimated at 30 000 to 35 000. For Africa, about 3 000 valid fresh- and brackish water species are currently recognized. Conserving the biodiversity of these fishes and at the same time managing their exploitation in a sustainable way is a difficult exercise. In sub-Saharan Africa, the importance of aquaculture is not very high. Nonetheless, 18 different species are used commercially, of which six have a non-African origin. Documenting and characterizing the ichthyodiversity is vital for conservation and sustainable development purposes. The presence of a large collection, a specialised library and a considerable know-how in the Africa Museum has led to various revisions, checklists, species (re)descriptions and regional guides. All the information on African fishes is currently being entered in FishBase, a huge freely accessible database with information on the taxonomy, ecology and various other aspects of the biology of fishes, based on scientific publications and reviewed by specialists. FishBase also includes high quality tools for applied research on fishes, such as a disease wizard, biogeography tools, trophic pyramids, and the species invasiveness tool.
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