Population responses of perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach (Rutilus rutilus) to recovery from acidification in small Finnish lakes

  • Tammi J
  • Rask M
  • Vuorenmaa J
 et al. 
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Decreasing trends in atmospheric emissions and acidic deposition during the 1990s have resulted in chemical recovery from acidification in the sensitive surface water systems of southern Finland. Responses of perch and roach populations to the improved water quality were studied in 30 small lakes with the aid of water chemistry monitoring data gathered in 1987-2002 and the data collected from two consecutive periods of gillnet test fishing, 1985-1988 and 2001-2002. In the most acidified lakes, alkalinity and ANC have increased and sulphate and labile aluminium concentrations decreased markedly. The response of perch populations to the improved water quality is seen in improved reproduction success, indicated by a higher CPUE in numbers and a lower mean weight. The growth rate of perch has declined as the population density has increased. Roach populations have not recovered in the same way as perch, there being no major changes in NPUE or mean weight. Lower growth rates were, however, observed in the roach populations of all study lakes. The increased perch population density as an obstacle to the recovery of roach populations is discussed. Despite the chemical and biological recovery of the study lakes, the buffer capacity of many headwater lakes is low and the lakes will be sensitive to any increases in acidic deposition in the future.

Author-supplied keywords

  • acidification
  • headwater lakes
  • perch
  • population
  • recovery
  • roach

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