Assessment of status and management of sea trout rivers and stocks

In order to strengthen the fish populations and the potential for sustainable fishing tourism, the conditions in and around the Baltic Sea needs to improve especially the coastal and river areas that contains key habitats for spawning and rearing of many fish species. We need to increase the efforts for securing self-sustaining and viable populations of migratory fish like sea trout in the Baltic Sea.

Sreaming river

Assessment of sea trout river and stock status

RETROUT aims to assess the impact recreational fishing has on the sea trout stocks, to compile information on the status of sea trout rivers and stocks in the Baltic Sea region, to evaluate different river restoration methods and technological solutions and to recommend best practices and management options.

The majority of the trout populations in the Baltic Sea are experiencing low stock numbers. In order to assess the current status and need for measures the standardised methodology will be brought forth for assessing sea trout river and stock status and the results of the assessment will be the base for management recommendations.

River restoration

The compiled information on river restoration success factors provides input to the development of pan-Baltic recommendations and guidelines for river restoration and management of sea trout rivers and stocks. RETROUT has evaluated already completed restoration projects and identified what methods gives the best results. The working group included experts in the fields of river restoration, fish biology, cultural history, water resources management and environmental communication.

As the project spans a large region, with similar problems and focus species, the joint learning from previous and on-going restoration projects constitutes an important basis for improving and facilitating future projects. The compiled information on river restoration success factors will support national, regional and local administrations to identify the most cost-efficient measures of improving water quality and fish stock status such as the management of coastal and marine resources to underpin sustainable blue growth sectors.

Within the RETROUT project, fourteen river restoration demonstration cases were conducted to restore sea trout populations in coastal rivers in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden. Measures included fishways, biotope restorations, water quality improvement, and dam removal plans. These restoration activities were carefully documented and will serve as a basis for developing river restoration guidelines for the Baltic sea region, to be used by local, regional, national public authorities. The main objective was to provide a list of best available practices and recommendations for cost-efficient and effective river restoration for enhancing ecological quality and increasing sea trout productivity.

The river restoration projects are summarised in a report that you can read here: RETROUT River Restoration Demonstration Case Reports