Comparative ecological assessment of biodiversity of fish communities in three coastal wetland systems in Ghana
The species diversity, richness and composition of fish communities as well as some physicochemical conditions were analyzed in order to establish baseline data inventory in three wetland systems in Ghana. Water quality checker was used to measure five physico-chemical parameters while a pole-seine net was used for fish sampling. Results showed that dissolved oxygen content of Essei lagoon was critically low (averagely 0.7 mg/L) while temperature was significantly higher in Butuah lagoon, with the Whin estuary maintaining moderately good conditions. Twenty-six (26) species of shell- and finfishes belonging to 18 families from freshwater, brackishwater and marine sources were encountered in the water bodies. Whin had the most rich and diverse fish community (d= 3.21, H’= 1.62), followed by Butuah (d= 1.54, H’ = 1.56), with Essei recording the least (d= 0.99, H’ =1.02). The moderately good environmental conditions, together with the higher richness and diversity of fish biota in the Whin estuary generally reflect a highly productive system that merits management planning and possible conservation status. The lower richness and the correspondingly lower diversity of fish community in the Essei and Butuah Lagoons with most of the fish being juveniles require serious and realistic management interventions to be enforced.