Migration and spawning behavior of brackish water perch and pike (38413)

Project Details


Populations of Northern pike and European perch living in brackish waters along the Danish coasts of the Baltic Sea have declined severely during the last 50 years. Based on data from commercial landings the development is most evident for pike. In the 1960’s landings of pike were between 60 and 100 tons per year while mean landings 2003-2020 have been ca. 2.5 tons per year with an evident decline since 2016. Both brackish water pikes and perch are very popular in the recreational fisheries on the coastlines around the southern part of Zealand and the nearby islands.

Little is known about the behaviour and life-history of these populations, for instance the extent to which there is one or more reproductively isolated local populations, the importance of access to freshwaters to spawn and migration routes and timing between feeding areas and spawning sites. Knowledge of behaviour and spawning sites is necessary for optimizing management actions. Obstacles in rivers and hereby blocking of migratory routes as well as drainage of coastal meadows can be crucial to the reproductive success and survival of freshwater fish populations inhabiting brackish waters along with deterioration of nursery areas in both freshwater and brackish water.

The present project aims to gain knowledge on behaviour and migration routes of brackish water pike and perch in Denmark. In particular, it will explore migration routes of brackish water pike caught and tagged in four fjords (Præstø Fjord, Jungshoved Nor, Stege Nor and Fane Fjord) and Brackish water pike and perch caught and tagged in two streams (Askeby Landkanal and Tubæk) along the coastline of Southern Zealand and Møn by telemetry. Migration routes of fish tagged with acoustic transmitters is logged by acoustic receivers placed at sea and in streams.

The project will be able to answer:
- The extent to which there is one or more reproductively isolated populations in the area.
- In which areas these populations spawn.
- Migration routes between spawning and feeding sites.
- Migration timing, speed and distance.
- Degree of homing.

This is highly relevant to local authorities that manage restoration of rivers and lakes. The project is performed in cooperation with municipalities (Vordingborg, Næstved and Guldborgsund) around southern Zealand.

National Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU Aqua (coordinator)
Vordingborg Municipality, Denmark
Næstved Municipality, Denmark
Guldborgsund Municipality, Denmark

The project is funded by the Danish Rod and Net Fishing License Funds and Vordingborg Municipality. 

Research area: Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology
Effective start/end date01/01/201031/12/2022

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Municipality of Vordingborg (Project partner)
  • University of Copenhagen (Project partner)
  • Municipality of Næstved (Project partner)
  • Municipality of Guldborgsund (Project partner)
  • Aalborg University (Project partner)


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