Food and feeding, condition factor, breeding periods, growth and size at first maturity of a small pelagic cyprinid Rastrineobola argentea (P.) in Lake Victoria are determined. Fishing gears and methods that have been used in the exploitation of the species and could be harmful to the fishery are outlined. Management measures leading to possible sustainable exploitation of the fishery are suggested.
Adult R. argentea feed on zooplankton during daytime. Juveniles feed on planktonic early instars lakefly larvae. Although the species breeds throughout the year, two breeding peaks were observed during the drier months of August arid December January. Least breeding was observed in the rainy months of April-May and October November. Fishes from the open water station at Bugaia showed higher numbers of breeding individuals than those from inshore areas. The mean monthly condition factor of fish from Napoleon Gulf confirmed breeding peaks as obtained from the number of fish with ripe gonads.
The species showed a mean instantaneous growth rate (K) of 1.75 and attains length infinity (Lx) of 54mm. Females of the species in these waters show a reduced size at maturity as compared to ten years ago when exploitation the species was at minimal levels. The males have however not changed much.