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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Predator damaged eel caught in coastal fisheries of the Baltic Sea

Bryhn, Andreas; Lunneryd, Sven-Gunnar; Königson, Sara

Abstract

Fish stock assessment may be constrained by incomplete knowledge on all mortality sources. Seal and cormorant raiding fishing gear to access the catch has been asserted by fishers to be a considerable problem in the small-scale European eel fishery along the Swedish Baltic Sea coast. We analysed logbook data and found predator losses in fisheries at 13.6 ± 12.6% among catches landed in 16 Swedish harbours in subdivisions 25, 27 and 29 of the Baltic Sea in 2019–2021. These numbers were used to assess the total predator damage along this coast at 12 ± 10 tonnes of caught eel at a landings value (about 10% of the retail value) of 105,000 ± 97,000 euros in 2020. This may constrain prospects of the declining commercial small-scale coastal eel fishery. Moreover, this quantitative estimate may be useful in future assessments of the local stock component, with potentially important implications for ecological, economic and social sustainability.

    Published in

    Fisheries Research
    2023, Volume: 267, article number: 106827