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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Catches, bycatches and stock indicators of fisheries targeting cyprinids along the Swedish Baltic Sea coast

Ostman, Orjan; Sundblad, Goran; Ljungberg, Peter; Levin, Sandra; Blass, Martina; Kaljuste, Marju; Dahlin, Iris; Svensson, Rebecka; Olsson, Jens


Decreasing abundance of many traditionally exploited fish stocks in the Baltic Sea force small-scale fisheries to find new ways to make a living. In line with Swedish national strategies on food supply there is an interest to develop commercial cyprinid fisheries. In the Bothnian Bay in the northern part of the Baltic Sea, annual catches have increased from zero-catches 2018-30 tonnes 2021. To aid a sustainable development of these cyprinid fisheries that target mainly bream (Abramis brama) and ide (Leuciscus idus), we study catch efficiency of target species and bycatch in different gears and seasons using logbook data from the Bothnian Bay. Using cameras, we also assessed bycatch rates. To assist the sustainability of the fishery we develop potential stock indicators. Our results suggests that larger gear (pound-nets) are more effective in catching bream, and that the proportion of bycatch decreased with gear size, being < 10% in the largest gear, which is similar or lower than many other Baltic Sea fisheries. By-catches of salmon is of concern in the Bothnian Bay, but the camera study indicates that salmon bycatches are sporadic. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) of bream was highest in spring and fall, and we conclude that site specific median CPUE is the most suitable stock abundance indicator. The size indicator L90, the 90th percentile of the length distribution, was similar among areas and we propose it as a suitable indicator of the demographic structure of the targeted bream stocks. Our results provide reference points for relatively unfished conditions, but as the study was based on mainly fishery dependent data, it is important to also include fishery independent data to assess ecosystem effects of a future and intensified cyprinid fishery.


Abundance indicator; By-catch; Length-based indicators; Seafood; Sustainable harvest

Published in

Fisheries Research
2023, Volume: 268, article number: 106829