Kapenta Tanganyika SardineThe Lake Tanganyika sardine (Limnothrissa miodon) is a species of freshwater fish in the family Clupeidae which was endemic to Lake Tanganyika but which has now been introduced to other lakes in Africa as a food source. It is monotypic within the genus Limnothrissa. It and the Lake Tanganyika sprat are known collectively as kapenta.
In the wild, this fish grows to a length of about, though it is smaller when farmed. The maximum recorded weight for a female is. It feeds on plankton and its main predators are other fish, birds, and aquatic mammals. Spawning takes place in the water column during the rains and sometimes during periods of flooding. The female produces several hundred thousand eggs and the fish reach maturity in about six months. They may live for five years or more.
The Lake Tanganyika sardine grows to a length of about and is silvery in color with a scattering of black spots on the back and a black streak through the eye. The scales have a pronounced ridge or spine on their front edge. It feeds mostly on algae which it gathers by moving its lower lip across the surface while keeping its mouth wide open. It can be identified by its large lower jaw and the black streak through its eye and also by the presence of a lateral spine on its scales just behind the gill opening.
Female and male L. miodon grows to a maximum overall length of 13 cm (6 in) and 9 cm (3¾ in), respectively, and body mass of 0.4 kg (0.8 lb). This species is an omnivore, feeding on phytoplankton and zooplankton. This species is of major commercial fisheries importance in the southern part of Lake Tanganyika (particularly Mpulungu and Kalemie) and also has a minor presence in northern Katanga Province. Males produce between 600,000 and 1 million eggs per kg (1-2 million/lb) of body weight.
The fish is endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa where it was once abundant but has now become rare due to overfishing. It is caught alongside the related species kapenta or tanganyika sardine (Clarias gariepinus). Kapenta is usually dried or salted before being exported.
Global kapenta (tanganyika sardine) production
The kapenta (tanganyika sardine) is a small freshwater fish that is found in Lake Tanganyika in Africa. It is an important food source for people living in the region and is also used as bait for fishing. The kapenta fishery is managed by the governments of Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kapenta is small, silver-colored fish that grow to a length of about 15 centimeters (6 inches). They have a single dorsal fin and a forked tail. Their diet consists mainly of algae and other aquatic plants.
Kapenta are an important food source for people living around Lake Tanganyika. They are usually fried or smoked. The fish are also used as bait for fishing.
The kapenta fishery is managed by the governments of Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The total annual production of kapenta is about 50,000 metric tons. Most of the fish are caught by small-scale fishers using traditional methods such as nets and hooks.
The kapenta fishery is under pressure from overfishing and changing environmental conditions in the lake. The fish population has declined sharply in recent years, and the governments of the three countries have put in place measures to protect the species. These measures include closed seasons, limits on the number of fish that can be caught, and restrictions on the use of certain fishing gear.
Despite these measures, the kapenta fishery is still in danger of collapse. This would have serious consequences for the people who depend on the fish for their livelihoods and for the ecosystem of Lake Tanganyika.