WKTRUTTA, taking place 12-14 November and attracting 35 delegates from Baltic and Atlantic coastal countries (from Finland to Spain), also discussed implications for stock and ecosystem assessment and evaluated risks to stocks and fisheries that should be considered through Marine Spatial Planning.
Sea trout are the anadromous, migratory form of the brown trout (Salmo trutta), a species that is ubiquitous in fresh waters across the ICES area. Many of the fish, however, are present in estuarine, coastal and offshore fisheries that are under pressure from many factors.
Sea trout research has seen a resurgence prompted by the stock collapses of the late 1980s in Ireland, Scotland, and in the Baltic which drew attention to the lack of knowledge of the species and it fisheries. Much recent scientific enquiry has been based around the life history processes that determine the incidence of anadromy - why do they go to sea? – and their marine ecology – distributions and stock mixing. In the background is the significant problem of inconsistent availability and quality of assessment data across ICES countries stemming from the lower priority assigned to sea trout historically, compared to salmon, and the lack of perceived drivers for international assessment. However, the Working Group on Baltic Salmon and Trout (WGBAST) addressed the evident cross-border mixed stock fisheries issues in these waters. As yet no such coordination exists for Atlantic stocks, but recent cross-border sea trout research has been funded through Interreg leading to important international collaborations.
New information on the extent of sea trout movements at sea, on their exposure to potential risks their intimate dependence on marine ecosystems and the sentinel role they could play in environmental quality evaluation will hopefully raise the status of this species. WKTRUTTA will report on its findings and make recommendations by February 28th, 2014, via SSGEF for the attention of WGBAST, WGRECORDS and SCICOM.
© Stefan Florea - Fotolia.com