Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 64, Issue 1–3, pp 39–47 | Cite as

Takvatn Through 20 Years: Long-term Effects of an Experimental Mass Removal of Arctic Charr, Salvelinus Alpinus, From a Subarctic Lake

  • Anders Klemetsen
  • Per-Arne Amundsen
  • Per E. Grotnes
  • Rune Knudsen
  • Roar Kristoffersen
  • Martin-A. Svenning
Article

Abstract

Between 1984 and 1989, the experimental removal of 31 tons (666 000 fish) of stunted Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, from Takvatn in northern Norway, had strong effects on the populations of Arctic charr, brown trout, Salmo trutta, and three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus. The littoral catch per unit effort (CPUE) of charr had decreased by 90% in 1990 and then increased to about 50% of the initial level by 1994 while the pelagic CPUE had decreased to zero. Growth in both charr and trout greatly improved when the charr density had decreased, and large fish of both species appeared in the catches. These large fish became predators on small charr in the littoral zone. The incidence of trout increased from below 1% to 15% from 1988 to 1999 after a brief peak at 30% in 1992 and 1993. The charr population attained a bimodal size distribution and did not return to the stunted state during the 10 years following the intensive fishing period. The mass removal experiment showed that it is possible to change the structure of a charr population by intensive fishing. Predation on small charr from cannibals and large trout was probably essential for maintaining the new population structure. An increase in the growth of young charr from 1995 to 1997 was related to a high consumption of Daphnia and Eurycercus. Rapid changes in the growth of charr followed the density fluctuations in sticklebacks, which show large annual variations in this system; the rapid changes in charr growth were probably caused by variations in the competition intensity for cladoceran prey between young charr and sticklebacks. Twenty years of data has provided important information, but even more time is needed to follow the long-term trends in northern lakes such as Takvatn.

size age growth habitat brown trout stickleback Daphnia Eurycercus 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Klemetsen
    • 1
  • Per-Arne Amundsen
    • 1
  • Per E. Grotnes
    • 1
  • Rune Knudsen
    • 1
  • Roar Kristoffersen
    • 1
  • Martin-A. Svenning
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marine and Freshwater Biology, The Norwegian College of Fishery ScienceUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute of Nature ResearchThe Polar Environment CentreTromsøNorway

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