Baltic Sea ecoregion – fisheries overview
The commercial fisheries in the Baltic Sea target only a few stocks. The pelagic fisheries, which account for the largest catches (by weight) in the region, are the midwater trawl fisheries for sprat and herring. The most important demersal fisheries are the bottom-trawl fisheries for cod and flatfish. The demersal fisheries are concentrated in the south and west of the Baltic Sea, while the pelagic fisheries are more widespread. Basin-wide, commercial fishing effort has declined in recent years. Recreational fisheries in the Baltic catch a diversity of species, with cod and salmon accounting for the largest number of landings. Most of the Baltic Sea fish stocks with reference points are fished at or below FMSY. Multispecies analysis indicates that there is a trade-off between fishing cod or herring and sprat in the central Baltic Sea. Patterns of seabed habitat disturbance reflect the distribution of bottom-trawl fishing effort. A large and, for some species, probably unsustainable bycatch of seabirds (greater scaup, common guillemot, and long-tailed duck) occurs at times in the gillnet fisheries; these fisheries also catch individuals of the critically endangered harbour porpoise in the Baltic Proper.
Supporting data used in the Baltic Sea fisheries overview is accessible at https://doi.org/10.17895/ices.advice.21646934
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