Fish in the IJsselmeer region

Sustainable fisheries in the IJsselmeer-Markermeer area keep pace with changes in the ecological functioning of the area and ensure healthy and diverse fish stocks and a rich food base for birds. This requires good information and knowledge about the ecology of the IJsselmeer region and the stocks of commercial fish species. Wageningen Marine Research develops new methods for catching fish and is involved in various nature restoration projects, for example for fish migration.

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Largest freshwater area in Western Europe

The IJsselmeer, Markermeer and Randmeren form the most extensive freshwater area in Western Europe, with a rich fishing history and diverse fish population. The lakes are subject to continuous change. The impact of the construction of the Afsluitdijk and the reclaiming of the IJsselmeerpolders is still felt. At the same time, climate change, nutrient management and new nature cause constant changes in the ecosystem. Water and nature management challenges in this area relate primarily to water safety, water quality, food supply, biodiversity and climate change within the European guidelines for water quality and Natura 2000.

Developing new models for harvest rules

Wageningen Marine Research has been advising the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality on fishing for pikeperch, perch and roach since 2013. To meet the 2027 policy targets, our researchers developed new models in 2019, based on internationally agreed methodologies. These models will be used to develop harvest rules that can be used to implement sustainable management.

Our researchers are also working with, for example, Foundation Transitie IJsselmeer (STIJ), commercial fishers, Sportvisserij Nederland and Vogelbescherming Nederland on knowledge and sustainable management systems for the IJsselmeer fishery.

Nature restoration

In addition, our institute is involved in various nature restoration projects for the IJsselmeer region from an expert role in the field of freshwater ecology. These include large-scale initiatives to improve fish stocks, restore links in migratory fish routes and create new habitats with the aim of increasing the natural productivity of the lakes and offering new opportunities for fish-eating waterbirds, such as the common tern. For the iconic Marker Wadden project, our experts have a leading role in fish stock research. We are also involved in the development of the Fish Migration River, which will pass right through the Afsluitdijk.

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