Thursday, 23 June 2011


Kamaruddin, I.S., A.S. Mustafa Kamal, A. Christianus, and S.K. Daud, (2009). Species composition and feeding habits of fish population in Pengkalan Gawi - Pulau Dula Section of Kenyir Lake, Terengganu, Malaysia. Tropical Agriculture in a Changing Climate and Energy Scenario: Agriculture Congress 2009. Faculty of Agriculture. Universiti Putra Malaysia. 157-159. 


Kamaruddin, I.S.,¹* A.S. Mustafa Kamal,¹ A. Christianus¹ and S.K. Daud²

¹Department of Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia, ²Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
*Corresponding author: E-mail:

            Presently, there are more than 51 reservoirs in Malaysia and the number is expected to increase by the next decade (Ho, 1994). Earlier studies carried out on selected reservoirs in Malaysia indicate that these reservoirs contained numerous species of commercial and non-commercial fish species (Khoo et al., 1982). Over exploitation and habitat degradation therefore, only deplete the stocks and reduce the replacement rate in the population (Khan et. al., 1996). The distribution and composition of the fish species in each habitat were closely associated with various factors such as the availability of food, breeding sites, water current, depth, topography and physicochemical properties of water (Harris, 1995). Studies on feeding patterns of fish species help describe the ecological relationship of that species with the rest of the community (Caragitsou and Papacanstantinou, 1994).
            Studies on ecosystems, biodiversity and fishery resources after the construction are essential in understanding these changes in enabling effective reservoir management and efficient use of their natural resources (Hanpongkittikul & Wongrat, 2005). Scientific management and conservation of lakes is overwhelmingly important in the milieu of predicted freshwater shortages in this new century, especially with the lowest per capita freshwater availability in the Asia-Pacific region (ILEC 2007). Thus, the aim of the research was to gain the baseline data for the lake conservation programmes with determining the species composition and feeding habits of fish population in one of the lake section named as Pengkalan Gawi – Pulau Dula section of Tasik Kenyir.

            Tasik Kenyir is the largest man made lake in Malaysia about 36,000 hectares. The lake average depth is 37 meters and its maximum depth is 145 meters. This manmade lake was initially impounded in 1986 to generate hydroelectric power, receiving water inputs from two main rivers – the Terengganu and Terengan rivers (Furtado et al. 1977). Pengkalan Gawi is the main jetty to lake where Tasik Kenyir is a pleasant retreat for urban dwellers.
            Three stations have been set up in one of the lake section between Pengkalan Gawi – Pulau Dula section of Tasik Kenyir. Sampling was done based on a monthly basis from February 2008 to July 2008. Fish sampling method was using gill nets of 100 m long, 3 m deep and a stretch-mesh of 6 cm. Fishes caught were counted and the species were identified following Mohsin and Ambak (1983). All fish stomach from gill to anal opening were removed and were preserved with 5% formalin solutions for laboratory analysis. In the laboratory, the stomach contents were analyzed where the larger organisms were sorted and counted using dissecting microscope (16 x to 30 x) while planktons were analyzed using compound microscope (40 x and 100 x).

            A total of 170 individual fish from 9 species were caught during the study period from February to July 2008. The most abundance species was Barbodes Schwanenfeldii (Lampam Sungai) with 35.29% from total fish caught. This followed by Notopterus sp. (Belida) and Hampala macrolepidota (Sebarau) with 27.65% and 16.47% respectively. Hemibagrus nemurus (Baung) representing 10.59%, followed by Channa micropeltes (Toman) with 4.12%, Pristolepis fasciatus (Patong) with 3.53% and Osteochilus vittatus (Rong) with 1.18%. One individual fish from species Labiobarbus lineatus (Kawan) and Channa striatus (Haruan) representing 0.59% for each species.
            The most abundance of food item occurred in fish stomachs were insects with 68.46%. The second food item consumed by the fish was plant with 10.39% and this followed by detritus with 5.29%. The other food item occurred in fish stomach were bacillariophyta with 3.14%, cyanophyta with 2.96%, crustaceans with 2.01%, chlorophyta with 1.73%, cladocerans with 1.48%, fish juvenile with 1.34% and rotifer with 1.13%. Copepods and Euglenophyta were consumed by the fishes with 0.74% while mollusks with 0.60% from the total food item occurred. Most of the fish species like Baung, Belida, Haruan, Lampam Sungai and Patong were consumed on insects as their main food item. The fish species that eat mainly on fish juvenile were Toman and Sebarau while Kawan and Rong were mainly eat on phytoplankton.             

            According to Ambak and Jalal (2006), the most abundant fish species in Tasik Kenyir was Lampam Sungai and this was significant with the results of this study. Lampam Sungai in reservoir was originated from riverine species which can adept quite well especially in the littoral areas. So far 36 species of fish from 13 families were caught in Kenyir Reservoir, as compared to 22 species belonging to 6 families in Temenggor and 48 species belonging to 14 families in Bukit Merah (Ambak and Jalal, 1998; Yap, 1992). The different in terms of number of species caught maybe due to the study was conducted only in one of the lake section. Moreover, because of using gill nets with deep of 3 m, it does not captured fish that lives at the bottom of the lake. If these species are abundant in that area, then the gill nets would underestimate these demersal species populations.
            Mohsin and Ambak (1983), and Ambak and Jalal (1998), shows that Toman and Haruan were carnivorous fish while Baung were classified as omnivorous fish. Peralta (2004) found that food item eaten by Baung contained animal origins indicating that it was highly carnivorous fish and Sebarau also has been classified as carnivorous fish. Similar feeding pattern have been shown in some of the species with previous studies. This indicates that fish species in Pengkalan Gawi – Pulau Dula section live in a stable ecosystem which can support their natural feeding habits.          

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