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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The Population Development of the Invasive Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus in Latvian Waters of the Baltic Sea

Kruze, Eriks; Avotins, Andris; Rozenfelde, Loreta; Putnis, Ivars; Sics, Ivo; Briekmane, Laura; Olsson, Jens


The invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) was established in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea in the early 1990s. The first observation of the species in Latvian waters was in 2004. In the intervening period, the population grew, the species became of significance for local fisheries, and it likely impacted the local ecosystem in the Baltic Sea. In this study, we characterize the spatial-temporal population development of round goby in Latvian coastal waters using data from three different scientific and fisheries-independent surveys. We also include data from commercial fisheries landings to describe the fisheries targeting the species. Our results suggest an exponential increase in population numbers of round goby in Latvian waters, peaking in 2018, followed by a sharp decline. This observation is also supported by data from commercial fisheries landings. We suggest that intensive commercial fishing had a considerable impact on the rapid decline of the species, but that the decline was potentially amplified through a wider scale decline, as observed in many areas of the Baltic Sea. The results of this study contribute to the knowledge base on the species and how fisheries can aid in limiting the development of invasive fish populations. Based on the results of the study, we also provide recommendations for better future monitoring of the species in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea.


commercial fisheries; coastal fish monitoring; invasion history; monitoring gear calibration; TRIM tool; population change

Published in

2023, Volume: 8, number: 6, article number: 305Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG14 Life below water

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science
    Fish and Wildlife Management

    Publication identifier


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