Mali is a land-locked nation in the Northwestern region of Africa. It covers an area of 480,000 square miles. The northern part of Mali is covered by the Sahara desert. The central and southern parts where most people live are covered by the Niger River and the Senegal River respectively. The main economic activities in Mali are fishing and farming. Some of the fish species found in Mali are Niger River Upside-Down Catfish, Mali Electric Catfish, Featherfin Squeaker, and Barbus baudoni.
Barbus baudoni is a freshwater fish native to West Africa. The fish grows to an average length of 3.3cm. The fish lives near the bottom of the river where it also gets its food. Barbus baudoni breeds in freshwater areas. The fish is harvested for human consumption. The fish are not under the threat of extinction due to their large numbers and is classified as least concern by IUCN.
Nile Upside-Down Catfish
Nile Upside-Down Catfish (Chiloglanis niloticus) is a freshwater fish that swims up-side down. The fish is native to the River Nile and Niger River. The fish grows to an average length of 4.5cm. Nile Upside-Down Catfish lives in shallow water areas. It feeds on insects and insect larvae found at the bottom of the river. Nile Upside-Down Catfish exhibits distinct pairing when breeding.
Mali Electric Catfish
Mali Electric Catfish (Malapterurus minjiriya) is a freshwater fish native to Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. The fish produces electric currents to scare its prey. It lives close to the bottom of the river. Mali Electric Catfish feeds on small fish. It can grow to an average length of 102cm. The fish breeding season starts in September to November. Although the fish is not considered an endangered species, the state of its natural habitat is under threat due to oil exploration in the region as well as urbanization.
Lake Nokoue Upside-Down Catfish
Lake Nokoue Upside-Down Catfish (Synodontis budgetti) is freshwater fish native to Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. It can be found in Lake Nokoue, Niger River, and in Bénoué River. Its average length is 40cm. The fish lives close to the floor of the lake or river bed. Despite the fish being commercially harvested the species is not an endangered species. Research on the fish population and trends is necessary to enable conservation of the species.
Featherfin Squeaker (Synodontis eupterus) is a freshwater fish species native to Niger River, Chad basin, and White Nile. It grows to an average length of 30cm. It is mainly found over muddy bottoms in the river. The fish gets its name from its feather-like fin and ability to make noise. It is a favorite aquarium fish. Featherfin Squeaker is a nocturnal fish. It breeds in areas of seasonal flooding and areas that have micro-organisms. The fish is harvested by humans for consumption.
The Niger Basin in Mali has an abundant fish population. The fish are important to the Mali people who rely on fishing for their livelihood. Fish constitutes 60% of the animal protein consumed in Mali. In recent years, the fish population has declined. Overharvesting, poor management of the Niger basin and adverse climatic conditions are some of the factors that have contributed to the decline. Conservation measures are necessary to stop the decline in fish population. Research on the fish population is also necessary so as to monitor any further decline.