I was very fortunate to attend the SASAqS (South African Society of Aquatic Scientists) conference this year in the Kruger National Park and I wish I had the opportunity to stay longer. I am currently doing my Masters at the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity in Grahamstown, and I am working on a behavioural study on the Eastern Cape red fin minnows near Port Elizabeth. I am looking at alternative ways to assess abundance that are non-destructive and non-harmful to this endangered species.
For a while, I wasn’t sure I wanted to study further after my Masters but the speech I heard on swimways during the SASAqS conference changed that. Fish migration is a passionate topic. I remember the speaker saying that there are opportunities for further studies relating to fish migration and I am now eager to explore the topic further. It was incredibly interesting to see the devastating effects that dam creations have had on fish migrations globally. One seems to view dam creations as just a diversion of water and it was amazing to have some light shed on topics such as spawning grounds and fish ladders that are also affected. I have just started reading the book “From Sea to Source” and it’s incredible to marvel at the different manners in which fish migrate and the various species that do so globally!
I’m still learning about the various options to specialize in this field but I know I would love to do research that will make a difference and be eye-opening. I have always been fond of the aspect of helping in conservation when I finish my studies and I could not think of a better field to do it in where my work would make a difference to both people and fish species involved.