Changes in the fish community of the Kpong Headpond, lower Volta River, Ghana after 25 years of impoundment
The Kpong Headpond was the second created on the Volta River after Akosombo Dam, primarily as a source of hydroelectric power generation and potable water supply, and additionally, it has supported some fish production in Ghana since impoundment. The changes in fish community of the Kpong Headpond were studied to provide baseline information for strategies formulation to support the socio-economic development of the reservoir. The study identified changes in the fish community of the reservoir by comparing occurrence, composition, relative abundance and relative importance estimates of fish species, families and trophic groups, from available previous studies in the reservoir. From the collated information all fishes identified in the reservoir were categorized based on occurrence and importance as disappeared, appeared, permanent, declined or important, to show current status. The results indicated that the fish community has experienced a shift in the composition and relative abundance of important species, families and trophic groups in terms of number and weight, while remaining ecologically balanced. Representatives of the families Osteoglossidae, Centropomidae and Characidae have declined while representatives of the families Claroteidae, Cyprinidae and Cichlidae have increased. The aufwuch-detritus and herbivores declined while semi-pelagic omnivores increased resulting in a shift in dominance to benthic and semi pelagic omnivores. The appearance of five species and the disappearance of 25 others indicated a dynamic restructuring of the fish community in the reservoir, as expected. Enforcement of fishing regulations including the use of appropriate gear and fishing methods, fishery access control, promotion of culture-based fisheries and improvement in fisher education are recommended topics for sustainable fisheries in the reservoir.