, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 161-168

Spring migration of some anadromous freshwater fish species in the northern Bothnian Sea

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Abstract

Quantitative estimations of spring migrating fish have been made in the mouth part of the small coastal river Ängerån which flows into the northern Bothnian Sea (63°35′N, 19°50′E). In 1981 nearly 3 000 fish were counted ascending to the spawning grounds in the lower reaches of the Ängerån. These species, such as pike, perch, roach and ide, adapted to the oligohaline environment in the Bothnian Sea for most of the year, migrate to spawn in the coastal stream. The reason for these migrations can be interpreted to indicate that the Ängerån offers more favourable water temperature conditions at spawning time compared with the Bothnian Sea, which is ice-covered up to the beginning of May. The most important result of the investigation in the Ängerån is that these fish species, in the same way as the salmonids, return to their‘home-stream’ every year as adults.

Andreasson & Petersson (1982) listed 69 species of fish in the oligohaline Gulf of Bothnia (Table 1) where salinity varies from 2‰ near the mouth of the River Torneäly to 6‰ in the vicinity of the Åland Islands (Fig. 1). The fish fauna comprises freshwater and marine species, fish migrating between brackish and freshwater rivers and streams, and recently introduced non-endogenous species.

Andreasson & Petersson (1982) designated only five species as anadromous migrators, whereas our studies show that 11 species migrate from the sea to spawn in the Ängerån, a small river discharging into the northern Bothnian Sea (Fig. 2). Earlier reports on these migrations have been given by Berglund (1978) and Johnson (1978, 1982) and for another small stream in the area by Berg (1982).

The present paper describes the annual spring migrations of pike, perch, roach and ide between the northern Bothnian Sea and the Ängerån, for the year 1981.