SLU-study show negative trend of pike populations in the Baltic Sea

Published on February 13, 2023

A study conducted by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, with the main purpose to assess temporal trends in the coastal pike population in the Baltic Sea was published in January. The study shows a clear population decrease over time with data covering 8 different countries over a period of 15-20 years.

Earlier studies have indicated local declines of pike in the region, but the findings presented by The Swedish University of Agriculture identified a lack of a thorough spatial evaluation of regional population trends of pike in the Baltic Sea. The results derived from  collected data from 59 unique time-series from fisheries landings and fishery-independent monitoring programs to address temporal trends in pike populations since the mid-2000′s.

The result shows negative trends were mainly found in central and southern parts of the region and found indications of an overall regional temporal decline of pike in the Baltic Sea, but trends differed among countries. Individual negative trends in time-series were moreover found in several regions of the Baltic Sea, but predominantly so in the central and southern parts, while positive trends were only found in Estonia and northern Finland.

In sites with decreasing catches over time, the magnitude of the decrease ranged between 12% and 100 % for the different time-series. The result concludes that actions should be taken to protect and restore pike populations and there is also a need for improved data collection to fully assess the status of pike.