Fish in the IJsselmeer region

Sustainable fishing in the region of the IJsselmeer and Markermeer moves with the areas ecological functioning. It safeguards a healthy and diverse fish stock as well as a rich food supply for birds. This calls for a solid knowledge of the ecology of the IJsselmeer region and the population of commercial fish species. Wageningen Marine Research develops new methods to advise on fisheries and is involved in various nature recovery 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 catch advice

The perch, zander, bream, and roach (thelodonti) surveys that Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) conducts annually and fishers' data form the basis for the catch advice with which WMR supplies the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Our researchers developed new models in 2020, based on the methods of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which allow us to provide more accurate advice on the sustainable usage of the thelodonti stock in the IJsselmeer and Markermeer.

Moreover, our researchers collaborate with the Transition IJsselmeer Foundation (Dutch: Stichting Transitie IJsselmeer, STIJ), professional fishers, Sports Fisheries Netherlands and the Dutch Bird Protection agency towards a sustainable management system for fishing in the IJsselmeer.

Recovering Nature

Our institute plays an expert role in various nature recovery projects for the IJsselmeer area. Our freshwater ecology expertise allows us to contribute to initiatives to substantially improve fish populations, recover links in the migration routes for fish, and create new habitats. These initiatives aim to increase the lakes' natural productiveness and provide new opportunities for fish-eating waterbirds such as the common tern. Our experts have a leading role in the fish stock research in the iconic Marker Wadden project. Moreover, our institute is involved in developing a fish migration river to be constructed through the Afsluitdijk.

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