Pike factories – restoring wetlands for natural pike reproduction

By restoring former wetlands, pikes (Esox lucius) from the Baltic Sea can spawn in optimal conditions for reproduction. Wetlands have decreased during the last century on a large scale due to human activities. The long-term result of this project is sustainable healthy pike populations and a cleaner Baltic Sea.

Situation and background

During the last decades the pike have suffered from spawning habitat destruction, which has resulted in decreasing stocks of pike along the Swedish Baltic Coast. This is a phenomena not only associated with Sweden, it has been shown in most countries around the Baltic Sea.

This project is part of a larger conservation effort to restore the pike stocks by facilitating spawning opportunities in areas that previously were functioning for pike reproduction. By restoring former wetlands and/or creating fishways to existing wetlands the pike population will increase in these areas. The wetlands, or so-called “pike factories” hold the water long enough for the pike to spawn and juveniles to grow up. Another positive effect from the pike factory is the nutrient retention potential, the water contains less nutrients when it reaches the Baltic Sea after passing through the wetlands. This work is possible from thorough inventory work, contact with landowners and permits from the government. With construction entrepreneurs, the wetland could be built within the project time. A passive partner and cofounder in this project is the Swedish government, through the County Board of Blekinge.

The long-term result of this project is sustainable healthy pike populations and a cleaner Baltic Sea.

Project activities and effects

The overall goal of the project is to increase the coastal pike stock, leading to a healthier Baltic Sea.

The main objective to reach this goal is to create and restore former wetlands that pike used to spawn in. Several activities are planned to complete the objective, inventory/localising suitable places, dealing with permits, supervising construction and after construction following up of the measures.

The long-term effect of the goal is a healthy self-sustaining pike population in the southern part of the Swedish East coast. The pike factories create optimal environments for pike spawning and young-of-the-year growth is natural environments e.g. there is no fish farming or similar involved.

Another long-term effect is the nutrients reduction created in these coastal wetlands. Both of these long-term effects are in line with several of baltcf priorities, for example with improving the ecological stability, reducing eutrophication and helping to secure habitats for species. The wetlands and/or fishways to wetlands are consistent measures, e.g. they are created and will serve ecological purposes such as fish production and nutrient reduction for many years to come.

Swedish Anglers Association

National Board of County Blekinge (Government)

Project region
Blekinge, South east Sweden

Project duration start and end dates
2016-06-01 – 2018-06-01

Total projekt budget:  € 98.000
funding baltfc:              € 49.000
other donors:                € 49.000
(National Board of County Blekinge)