Fisheries including aquaculture, behavioural ecology, fish community and subsistence fisheries.

Fisheries make an important contribution to the protein intake of many informal communities in South Africa and the region. In combination the socio-economic value of fisheries and aquaculture production in the region is high. In South Africa, the economic value of the recreational angling is worth more than Rugby and Cricket combined.

At the AER, we undertake dedicated fisheries research, and are dedicated to the development of a responsible aquaculture industry.

We are making a contribution to our understanding of the biology and ecology of targeted species, the effect of altered environmental variables to fish populations and communities and aquaculture production methods, systems processes and waste management.

In this theme the AER is committed to the sustainable use of water resources, which includes the management of multiple past, present and future environmental stressors.

Matthew Burnett is a Ph.D candidate running the FISHTRAC programme at the Aquatic ecosystem research (AER) group, his main focus is on fish behavioural ecology as an indication of river eco-system health. The FISHTRAC program uses smart technology in tracking fish and environmental variables to monitoring river ecosystems in real-time and remotely.

Read about his research here.




Pumla Dlamini is a Junior Rearcher within the AER programme and conducts her MSc through UKZN. She’s interested in fish communities and aspects of the biology of KwaZulu-Natal yellowfish, Labeobarbus natalensis, in the uMgeni River.

Read about her research here. 





Lungelo Madiya is a Junior Researcher and conducts his MSc. He’s focusing on the response of fish to natural and anthropogenic drivers in river dominated estuaries.







Mphatheni Mthembu is a Junior Researcher and conducts his MSc through UKZN. His study aims to evaluate the current wellbeing of the freshwater fisheries of the rivers of northern KwaZulu-Natal, their socio-ecological value, threats to the sustainability of these fisheries and provide management recommendations for the rivers.


Read more about his research here.



Wesley Evans is a technician helping mainly on Matt’s and Pumal’s respective projects. Wesley is a former MSc student, his projects focused on the study of fish community and associated drivers in KZN.







Other members are involved in this theme : Molefi Mazibuko and Philile Sithole.