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A long-term (1667-1860) perspective on impacts of fishing and environmental variability on fisheries for herring, eel, and whitefish in the Limfjord, Denmark
Poulsen, B.; Holm, P.; MacKenzie, B.R. (2007). A long-term (1667-1860) perspective on impacts of fishing and environmental variability on fisheries for herring, eel, and whitefish in the Limfjord, Denmark. Fish. Res. 87(2-3): 181-195. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2007.07.014
In: Fisheries Research. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0165-7836; e-ISSN 1872-6763, more
Also appears in:
Ojaveer, H.; MacKenzie, B.R. (Ed.) (2007). History of marine animal populations and their exploitation in northern Europe. Fisheries Research, 87(2-3). Elsevier: Amsterdam. 100-261 pp., more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Clupea harengus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Clupea harengus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Historical ecology

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    This investigation reconstructs the development of major fisheries for herring, eel and whitefish in the Limfjord estuary, Denmark ca. 1667-1860, and then evaluates how their long-term dynamics have been influenced by some key fishery and environmental developments. The commercially most important fishery was for herring, Clupea harengus, which spawned in the Limfjord. This fishery underwent large changes in these centuries. High landings occurred in two periods in the early 18th and again in the early 19th centuries, when 4000-8000 metric tonnes were caught annually. In 1830, the fishery collapsed and landings were <1000 tonnes until the 1910s. Even during the 20th century using modern fishing techniques, the herring fishery never exceeded 7000 tonnes. The collapse was most likely due to unsustainable fishing practices (direct impacts on adults, juveniles, larvae and eggs). The second most important fishery of the Limfjord was the eel fishery. Eel, Anguilla anguilla, seems to have fled the fjord after a winter storm in 1825 broke the narrow Agger Tange isthmus which used to separate the Limfjord from the North Sea, and permanently increased the salinity in the western part of the Limfjord from 8 psu to 33 psu. The, so-called pulse seine fishery for eel declined rapidly following the salt water intrusion, and the population needed at least one to two generations to even partly recover. One possible technological reason for the recovery of the fishery was the 1848 invention of a new type of gear in the Limfjord which today is known as the Danish seine. However, the commercial eel fishery in Limfjord ceased by the 1980s coincident with the overall decline in European eel populations. The third fishery analyzed is the fishery for common whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus. A local population formed the basis of a substantial seasonal fishery, but the whitefish did not survive the salinity obstacle presented by the salt water intrusion in 1825. This study documents both the effects of fishing and environmental variability on collapses of different Limfjord fish species.

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