, Volume 704, Issue 1, pp 193–211 | Cite as

Development of a fish-based index to assess the eutrophication status of European lakes

  • C. Argillier
  • S. Caussé
  • M. Gevrey
  • S. Pédron
  • J. De Bortoli
  • S. Brucet
  • M. Emmrich
  • E. Jeppesen
  • T. Lauridsen
  • T. Mehner
  • M. Olin
  • M. Rask
  • P. Volta
  • I. J. Winfield
  • F. Kelly
  • T. Krause
  • A. Palm
  • K. Holmgren


The use of the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) standard method for sampling fish in lakes using multi-mesh gillnets allowed the collection of fish assemblages of 445 European lakes in 12 countries. The lakes were additionally characterised by environmental drivers and eutrophication proxies. Following a site-specific approach including a validation procedure, a fish index including two abundance metrics (catch per unit effort expressed as fish number and biomass) and one functional metric of composition (abundance of omnivorous fish) was developed. Correlated with the proxy of eutrophication, this index discriminates between heavily and moderately impacted lakes. Additional analyses on a subset of data from Nordic lakes revealed a stronger correlation between the new fish index and the pressure data. Despite an uneven geographical distribution of the lakes and certain shortcomings in the environmental and pressure data, the fish index proved to be useful for ecological status assessment of lakes applying standardised protocols and thus supports the development of national lake fish assessment tools in line with the European Water Framework Directive.


Lakes Europe Fish index Metrics Eutrophication 



This project was supported by the EU FP-7 Theme 6 projects WISER (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological Status and Recovery, Contract No.: 226273) and the National Office for Water and Aquatic Environments (ONEMA). We are grateful to the contribution by all members of the Fish Intercalibration Groups.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Argillier
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Caussé
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Gevrey
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Pédron
    • 3
  • J. De Bortoli
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Brucet
    • 4
  • M. Emmrich
    • 5
  • E. Jeppesen
    • 6
  • T. Lauridsen
    • 6
  • T. Mehner
    • 5
  • M. Olin
    • 7
  • M. Rask
    • 8
  • P. Volta
    • 9
  • I. J. Winfield
    • 10
  • F. Kelly
    • 11
  • T. Krause
    • 12
  • A. Palm
    • 12
  • K. Holmgren
    • 13
  1. 1.Irstea, UR HYAX HydrobiologieAix-en-Provence Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Onema/Irstea Research GroupAix-en-Provence Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Department of Marine and LittoralSeine Normandy Water Agency, Direction of Water, Aquatic Environment and AgricultureHonfleurFrance
  4. 4.European CommissionJoint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and SustainabilityIspraItaly
  5. 5.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark
  7. 7.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  8. 8.Finnish Game and Fisheries Research InstituteEvo Fisheries Research StationEvoFinland
  9. 9.CNR Institute of Ecosystem StudyVerbania PallanzaItaly
  10. 10.Centre for Ecology & HydrologyLancaster Environment CentreBailrigg, LancasterUK
  11. 11.Inland Fisheries IrelandSwords Business CampusSwordsIreland
  12. 12.Centre for Limnology at AEIEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  13. 13.Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Freshwater ResearchSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesDrottningholmSweden

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