Growth and mortality of the catfish, Hemisynodontis membranaceus (Geoffroy St. Hilaire), in the northern arm of Lake Volta, Ghana
Estimates of growth and mortality of the catfish, Hemisynodontis membranaceus (Geoffroy St. Hilaire), in Lake Volta were obtained from length composition data compiled in 1995 and 1996. The von Bertalanffy growth function (VBGF) estimates were: L∞=44.5 cm standard length; K=0.62 year−1; and t0=−0.23 years. Natural mortality rate, M, was 1.20 year−1. Total mortality rate, Z, was computed as 4.39 year−1 and the exploitation ratio (E=F/Z) was 0.72. Although the fish is estimated to have longevity of about 5 years, those exploited are normally less than 2 years of age, which is indicative of growth over-fishing. In order to arrest over-exploitation of the species, there is a need to establish ‘lake reserves’. In addition, the fisheries management should be devolved from the state to the local level to compel fishermen to take greater responsibility for the sustainability and conservation of the fisheries.