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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Predicting the effects of eutrophication mitigation on predatory fish biomass and the value of recreational fisheries

Sundblad, Göran; Bergström, Lena; Söderqvist, Tore; Bergström, Ulf


Improving water clarity is a core objective for eutrophication management in the Baltic Sea, but may influence fisheries via effects on fish habitat suitability. We apply an ensemble of species distribution models coupled with habitat productivity functions and willingness-to-pay estimates to assess these effects for two coastal predatory fish species, European perch (Perca fluviatilis) and pikeperch (Sander lucioperca). The models predicted a 37% increase in perch and 59% decrease in pikeperch biomass if reaching the reference level for water clarity in the Baltic Sea Action Plan. Reaching the target level was predicted to increase perch biomass by 13%. However, the associated economic gain for the recreational fisheries sector was countervailed by an 18% pikeperch reduction. Still, a net benefit was predicted since there are six times more fishing days for perch than pikeperch. We exemplify how ecological modelling can be combined with economic analyses to map and evaluate management alternatives.


Economic value; Ecosystem services; Eutrophication; Fisheries; Species distribution model; Travel cost method

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2020, Volume: 49, number: 5, pages: 1090-1099