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The Freshwater Ichthyofauna of Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea

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Title: The Freshwater Ichthyofauna of Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea
Authors: Powell, J.H.
Powell, R.E.
Issue Date: Oct 1999
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Powell JH, Powell RE. 1999. The freshwater ichthyofauna of Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. Pac Sci 53(4): 346-356.
Abstract: Tailings disposal from the Bougainville Copper Limited open-cut
porphyry copper mine on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea (1972-1989)
impacted the ichthyofauna of the Jaba River, one of the largest rivers on the
island. To assess the 'extent of this impact, comparative freshwater ichthyological
surveys were conducted in five rivers on the island during the period 19751988.
Fifty-eight fish species were recorded, including one introduction, Oreochromis
mossambicus. The icthyofauna is dominated by euryhaline marine species
consistent with that of the Australian region, but more depauperate. There
are more than 100 species present on mainland New Guinea that are absent
from Bougainville streams. Oreochromis mossambicus was the most abundant
species in the sampled streams, accounting for 45% of the catch. The most
abundant native fishes were the mainly small Gobiidae and Eleotridae. There
were few native fish of potential value as food and these were restricted to an
eleotrid gudgeon (Ophieleotris aporos), tarpon (Megalops cyprinoides), eel (Anguilla
marmorata), and snappers (Lutjanus argentimaculatus and Lutjanus fuscescens).
Fish production in the rivers is limited by the morphology of the
streams and the depauperate ichthyofauna. Fish yield from the Jaba River in
its premining state is estimated to have ranged from 7 to 12 t/yr. The population
living in the Jaba ,catchment in 1988 (approximately 4,600 persons) shared
this resource, resulting in an extremely low per-capita fish consumption rate of
less than 3 kg/yr.
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 53, Number 4, 1999

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