Dr Alfred Sandström reports on the Swedish case study’s progress, 24 months into GAP2.
“The team have been working for last three months testing push-up traps based on a design to avoid conflicts with seals in the sea. There has been positive results from the traps. The catches have been good, they can be operated just by one fisher and the fish are taken alive. This allows the fishers to select only the marketable fish, releasing undersized individuals and other bycatch.
However, while successful, testing was quite expensive and time consuming and accordingly has now ended.
An acoustic survey was performed with one fisher to assess a particular population of whitefish that is spawning in deep waters in winter, which is very unusual. Whitefish is a species with many ecotypes and large genetic variation. In Lake Vättern, three different ecotypes have been described. This has important management implications.
An ultrasonic telemetry study has been initiated to learn about movements and migratory patterns of fish, the results of which will feed into GAP2 activities also.
Support & Collaboration
We have three students involved in the case study:
- One PhD student working with the new push-up traps.
- Another PhD student from Holland, involved in the study of participatory processes in Lake Vättern, who will perform comparisons with other case of studies.
- The third is involved in the telemetry study.
The team have continued working with the fishers, mainly in the co-management group, assisting in meetings and workshops at several levels. To aid this work, a Danish group is now advising on co-management activities in Lake Vättern.”
In general, field activities are being progressively completed. Now it’s time for data processing and obtaining results which can help the co-management initiatives of the whitefish fishery.
Issues & Resolutions
“Whitefish is a very complex fishery with several stakeholders involved and several conflicts , some of them not directly related with the case study. For example, recreational catches are 50% of total and there are also some private waters rights. The strong relationship between scientists and commercial fishers has helped to solve the conflicts in a participative approach.
In the meetings and workshops we adapt scientific knowledge to an audience of fishers. We are using small groups because we realized that “shy” individual fishers are obscured in big groups by those more active. So, by keeping groups small, participation is widened. Researchers are using videos, maps and some plots to explain results, but the interpretation stops here. Fishers are encouraged to interpret and achieve management measures by themselves, instead of researchers giving advice.”