Neolamprologus cylindricus 300x187 Japanese Census of Lake Tanganyika FishNeolamprologus cylindricus

There has been an ongoing census of the fish community in Lake Tanganyika for the last twenty years. During this census the Japanese scientists have taken note of some rather drastic changes in the fish populations. These findings were published in the most recent issue of the journal “Ecology of Freshwater Fish”.

The conclusions were reached by Yuichi Takeuchi and team, while surveying the density and number of the different fish in Kasenga Point, at the southern end of Lake Tanganyika between 1988 and 2008.

The investigative team, headed by Yuichi Takeuchi, took note of a total of 54 chichlid and six non-cichlid species of fish, over the period of the survey. The most abundant type of fish recorded were the aufwuchs feeders.

Even though there was an abundance of fish and no lack of number of species present, their research indicates that there was a steep decline in the density of the aufwuchs feeders and invertebrate eaters during the course of the study. In a strange turn of events, there was an increase in the density of detritus feeders during this time.

The researches theorize that the change in the fish community could be due to human activities in the area such as deforestation, and agriculture run offs, which would lead to sediment loading in Lake Tanganyika to increase.

While they could not completely rule out natural variation for these changes in the fish community of Lake Tanganyika, there is no doubt that human activity is also making a large impact on the area as well.