Smelt is a key species in the foodweb of Lake IJsselmeer, as prey for both piscivorous fish (perch and pikeperch) and protected fish-eating birds (e.g. goosanders, grebes, and terns), and for a fishery taregting on spawning smelt. Smelt is a small pelagic species that can reproduce within one year at a size less than 10 cm. In the 1980s and 90s, smelt fishery was important and attractive, since smelt can be efficiently exploited when they occur in near-shore spawning aggregations in early spring. In recent years smelt fishery has been closed because of reduced smelt stocks and claims for food reservation for birds (legal restrictions for nature conservation). A central question in smelt fishery management is what impact a fishery would have on sustaining the smelt population and on breeding success and stop-over numbers of fish-eating birds with legal protection. Fishery models can be poorly applied to such short-lived species and alternative tools need to be developed to support management decisions. In this study we analyse available data on spawning smelt and subsequent mortality and the impacts of smelt fishery as potential risks for sustaining the smelt population and risks for food shortage among protected birds.
|Effective start/end date||15/05/18 → 31/12/18|