The largest Baltic population of sea trout (Salmo trutta L.): its decline, restoration attempts, and current status
ABSTRACT. The sea trout, Salmo trutta L. population in the Vistula River was the largest in the Baltic Sea. Its primary spawning grounds were located in the Carpathian tributaries in the upper river basin. The fish ascended to spawn in two runs: in winter when the fish were immature and spent nearly a whole year in the river, and in summer when mature fish ascended the river and spawned within a few months. This work presents the fisheries and stocking history and scientific studies of this population from the late nineteenth century. The consequences of the most important changes in the sea trout habitat are tracked from construction in the upper river basin in the 1940s and the damming of the river in its middle reaches in Włocławek in 1969. Despite intense stocking that has been conducted for over one hundred years, catches have declined from over 100 tons to nearly zero in recent years. The current state of the population and the possibilities of restoring it are discussed in light of genetic studies.
Keywords: management; migration; restitution; sea trout; stocking; Vistula River