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The large‐scale stocking of young anadromous whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and corresponding catches of returning spawners in the River Tornionjoki, northern Baltic Sea

Jokikokko, E., Huhmarniemi, A.
Fisheries management and ecology 2014 v.21 no.3 pp. 250-258
Coregonus, rivers, stocking rate, Baltic Sea
Stocking and fishing effort are two important potentially conflicting factors in fish stock management that require appropriate assessment to ensure a sustainable fishery. In the River Tornionjoki, which discharges into the northern Baltic Sea, a summer‐ascending whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus L., stock has long been a target by traditional dipnet fishing. Enhancement stocking of young whitefish started in the River Tornionjoki in the 1970s after a collapse in catches, with millions of age‐0 whitefish stocked annually in the river, but after about three decades, the stocking rates were considerably reduced. As a result, dipnet catches of whitefish in the Kukkolankoski Rapids rose simultaneously, peaking in the 1980s and 1990s, and then subsequently decreased. There was a significant positive correlation between stocking intensity and catch, both in weight and in numbers, revealing a strong relationship between whitefish releases and dipnet catch. Changes in gillnet fishing effort in the sea affected dipnet catches in weight as well as in mean size of captured whitefish. When the combined effect of stocking and gillnet effort was evaluated, only stocking significantly affected dipnet catches.