This core indicator evaluates the abundance of selected
functional groups of coastal fish in the Baltic Sea. As a rule, good status
is achieved when the abundance of piscivores (i.e. fish that feed on other
fish) is above a site-specific threshold value, and the abundance
of cyprinids or mesopredators (i.e. mid trophic-level fish) is within an
acceptable range for the specific site. The status of functional groups of
coastal fish in the Baltic Sea has been evaluated by assessing the status of
piscivores and cyprinids/mesopredators during the period 2011-2015.
Key message figure 1: Status assessment results based evaluation of the indicator 'abundance of selected functional groups of coastal fish'. The assessment is carried out using Scale 3 HELCOM assessment units (defined in the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy Annex 4). Click on individual maps to enlarge.
For piscivores, good status is achieved in 24 out
of a total of 29 monitoring locations, and for 13 coastal
HELCOM assessment units out of the 16 that were evaluated. For cyprinids/mesopredators,
good status is only achieved in 15 of the 27 monitored locations and thus in seven
of the 16 evaluated assessment units. In the locations classified as not good,
the abundance of cyprinids was too high in all but one (Hiiumaa, Estonia) of
the 12 locations.
The environmental status indicated by piscivores is hence slightly
better compared to that indicated by cyprinids. Generally, the status of
piscivores is better in more northern areas compared to more central areas. For
cyprinids/mesopredators, good status is not achieved in the Swedish part of the
Quark and Åland Sea, in all Finnish coastal waters except for the Bothnian Bay,
and in Estonian and Latvian coastal waters.
The level of confidence of the assessment differs across
areas and regions as a result of differences in monitoring methodology as well
as in some countries poor temporal and spatial coverage of monitoring due to
poor financial support for monitoring. The methodological confidence is high in
all areas and the confidence in the accuracy of the assessment is high in
majority of the assessment units. The confidence in the temporal coverage is
high in all areas except for the Latvian and Lithuanian areas, and the
confidence in spatial representability is the highest in the Finnish areas but
poorer in other countries.
The indicator is operational in the
coastal waters of most countries bordering the Baltic Sea. For the
time being, it is not applicable in some areas where coastal fish
monitoring data are scarce and further studies as well as time series are
needed to yield a reliable assessment of these areas. In the future, in line
with increasing knowledge, the indicator might undergo further development.
The state of coastal fish communities reflect the ecological
state in coastal ecosystems as well as the effects of recreational and
small-scale coastal commercial fishery. Changes in the long-term development of
the abundance of functional groups of coastal fish reflect the effects of
increased water temperature and eutrophication in coastal areas and/or changes
in the level of human exploitation (fishing and habitat degradation) and
natural predation pressure.
BSAP segment and objectives
Natural distribution and occurrence of plants and animals
Thriving and balanced communities of plants and animals
D4 Food webs
Trophic guilds, balance of total guild abundance
Other relevant legislation: In some Contracting Parties of HELCOM potentially also EU Habitats Directive
HELCOM (2017) Abundance of coastal fish key functional
groups. HELCOM core indicator report. Online. [Date Viewed], [Web link].
II component - Core indicator report – web-based version July 2017 (pdf)