External Organisations

  • Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Germany
  • Femern A/S, Denmark

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Objectives and Background

The purpose of the project was to investigate main exploited fish stock and fisheries dynamics in relation to the marine environment with focus on the Fehmarn Belt area in the Western Baltic Sea, and to provide science and research based investigations and results, as well as reports and scientific peer reviewed journal papers on this. The work was associated to the scientific baseline investigations (2009-13) and impact assessment of the projection of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany involving  a science cooperation between DTU Aqua, Thünen-Institute and Femern Bælt A/S in order to generate knowledge on potential impacts of establishment of the fixed link. Focus was on the most important commercial fisheries and fish stocks in the area (cod, herring, and sprat, but also flatfish and eels).


Tasks and Deliverables

The work covered WP0: Prospec­ting, planning and development of the investigations, producing outline and main con­tents of the science provision contract and coordination of tasks hereunder with DTU Aqua as inter­national project coordinator;  WP1: Review of  know­led­ge: Review, provision of data, and analyses of selected historical data on fish stock and fisheries dynamics; WP2: Exten­sion of existing, standard research surveys and linking to standard survey time series to detect potential effects on important fish stocks; WP3: Evaluation of potential integrated effects on important fish stocks and fishe­ries; WP4: Evaluation of potential effects of change and variability in hydrograp­hi­cal features and conditions on recruitment for important fish stocks (cod, herring, sprat);  WP5: Evaluation of herring occurrences and migra­tions as well as separation of spring and autumn spawning herring stock components in the area.

WP1 included provision of state of the art knowledge from historical surveys and review of quality of survey indices, commercial fisheries data, and information on recruitment dynamics with emphasis on fluctuations in distribution and productivity with respect to environmental and anthropogenic drivers of change including species interactions and fisheries. 

WP 2 included extension of existing standard surveys in the near field area and analyses of both the standard and extended time series with respect to variability in distribution, density and abundance patterns of relevant stocks, as well developing advanced scientific survey evaluation models and methods for doing this. 

WP 3 analyzed stock and fisheries dynamics by use and development of complex multi-fleet-multi-stock bio-economic management evaluation models performing analyses on a very high spatial and temporal resolution scale using integrated fisheries, stock and survey data. The models evaluated different management options and scenarios relevant for the establishment of the fixed link. 

WP4 evaluated variability in recruitment and important spawning areas according to hydrographic features and in relation to impact of the fixed link among other by use and further development of complex hydro-dynamic models. 

WP 5 evaluated herring stock occurrence and migration patterns in the Baltic areas by use of genetic identity markers, otolith micro-structures and information from fisheries and research surveys in order to evaluate impact of the fixed link. 

The project has besides a long row of project reports produced around 30 scientific peer reviewed journal papers where DTU Aqua are first author on more than half and co-author on more than 20 of the papers. 

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua.



  • Research areas: Fisheries Management & Fish Biology & Marine Living Resources & Population Genetics
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