Research

12.11.2019

Grown populations of seal and cormorant cause a severe threat to the continuation of the fishing livelihood in the Baltic Sea Region, confirms a new study

Grown populations of seal and cormorant cause a severe threat to the continuation of the fishing livelihood in the Baltic Sea Region, confirms a new study The Impacts of seals and cormorants experienced by Baltic Sea commercial fishers.

A newly published report by the Natural Resources Institute Finland based on 219 interviews of fishers in six countries in the Baltic Sea Region confirms that the impacts of seals and cormorants are a severe threat to the continuation of the small-scale coastal fishing livelihood. The study was carried out in co-operation with The Baltic Sea Seal and Cormorant project, a transnational co-operation operated by the Leader groups and Fisheries Local Action Groups in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Estonia. For the first time, the seal and cormorant induced damages are estimated this extensively in several Baltic Sea countries.

The Baltic seal and cormorant populations cause direct and indirect damages on especially traditional small-scale coastal fisheries, such as changes in fish stocks and behaviour, reduction of catch, and damages in gear and on the fish. The report discusses the multiplicity of the impacts and warrants for a wide cross-sectional collaboration together with fishers and other stakeholder groups when designing mitigation of the seal and cormorant induced problems.

“The effects of seals and cormorants would often necessitate changes in fishing strategies and making investments, but the possibility for fishers to find new paths has become narrowed. In this situation, engaging and attracting younger persons to become commercial fishers is challenging,” the report states.

Link: The Impacts of seals and cormorants experienced by Baltic Sea commercial fishers

Contact:

Esko Taanila

Project manager
Baltic Sea Seal and Cormorant Transnational Cooperation Project
Telefon +358 44 3774516
E-mail: esko.taanila@sepra.fi


1st of July 2019

Possible solutions and mitigation methods to decrease the seal- fishery conflict and work towards a viable and sustainable coastal fishery

At the HELCOM Workshop of Seal and Fisheries Interaction, the Baltic Sea Seal and Cormorant TNC project presented a list of Researchers’ recommendations for the main solutions and mitigation methods to decrease seal-fishery conflict in the Baltic Sea region.

The Recommendation list is available here


11th of April 2018

New research project launched: Impacts of seals and cormorants on the small-scale coastal fishery in Baltic Sea Region

Baltic Sea Seal and Cormorant TNC project and the Natural resources Institute Finland have launched a study to research impacts of growing populations of seal and cormorant on livelihoods of coastal small-scale fisheries in the Baltic Sea Region

The future of this fishery segment is very uncertain in most countries around the Baltic Sea. The major problem is declining profitability, caused by a number of factors such as rising costs, declining catches, competition from imported fish, and more recently also by a threat from fish-eating species such as seals and cormorants.

The total number of grey seals in the Baltic Sea is increasing yearly with 7-8% since 2000 when coordinated counting between the Baltic Sea states was introduced Grey seal population has increased dramatically in recent decades. Studies show that the population has increased eight times higher since the 1980s, and the number of grey seals in the Baltic Sea is officially estimated to be 28.000. However, according to other estimates, this number can be as high as 54.000. In addition, there are about 25.000 Ringed seals in the Bothnic Bay.

The cormorant has also recently become a major problem for commercial fisheries. Previously, a small number of cormorants from the Atlantic Ocean visited the Baltic Sea during winter, but in the past decades, the cormorant has expanded from Central Europe to the Baltic Sea and has grown from single colonies to an estimated 160.000 pairs in 2001.

Newly emerging concerns such as the ecosystem impact of seals and cormorants, as well as unforeseen consequences such as spreading of parasites, until now largely absent from the discussion, should also be taken into account.

Moreover, research data show that both species also affect the fish population in other ways, as their presence scares away fish stems from their natural breeding and growth areas. In order to ensure sustainable development of the Baltic Sea and its coastal communities, it is important that the impact of seals and cormorants on the fish stocks and on the livelihood of the small-scale fisheries will be estimated.

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