The RETROUT project had its mid-term meeting in Gdańsk, Poland from 8 to 9 May
2019, looking at achievements so far and the next steps to be taken.
“Work is progressing according to plans,
although some challenges need to be tackled to reach the final goals by the end
of the project in fall 2020,” said Håkan Häggström, the RETROUT Project Lead manager from the County Administrative
Board of Stockholm, Sweden.
With special focus on sea trout, RETROUT
seeks to promote and develop sustainable coastal fishing tourism in the Baltic
Sea region. Fostering thriving fish populations is a key approach of the
project, through enabling healthy and accessible river habitats for the natural
reproduction of sea trout that will eventually lead to a larger stock size.
In the countries where it operates, the
project also carries out a number of river restoration initiatives to improve the
condition of sea trout populations. For example, one case study will focus on
the renewal of the riverbed to increase nursery areas, while another project is
working on building a new fish pass to facilitate the free movement of fish
past migration obstacles.
“For healthy trout populations, rivers need
to be protected and restored, for instance by removing migration hindrances and
improving spawning grounds. We need to increase the efforts for securing
self-sustaining and viable populations of migratory fish in the Baltic Sea”,
said Henri Jokinen, the RETROUT Project manager at HELCOM.
In Gdańsk, HELCOM chaired the second day
work group session for the RETROUT work package on ‘Assessment of status and
management of sea trout rivers and stocks.’
work package focuses mainly on the ecological
aspect of trout fishing, notably through assessing fish stock and river habitat
status, and by evaluating river restoration practices to improve trout
populations. The main results will be published as an assessment report and as
a toolbox of best practices for river restoration in the Baltic Sea.
“So far, we have had a very useful workshop
about sea trout assessment and monitoring methods last year, we have collected
a nice data set of past river restoration cases and conducted a valuable amount
of stakeholder interviews to learn about factors of success and failure in
river restoration projects, and we advanced with the river restoration
demonstration projects carried out in the project countries, to mention some of
the achievements. We are in a good place to start on the next half of the
project,” said Jokinen.
The HELCOM-led work in RETROUT is in line
with the HELCOM
2013 Ministerial Agreements on salmon and
sea trout, and supports the HELCOM
Recommendation 32-33/1 ‘Conservation of
Baltic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea Trout (Salmo trutta)
populations by the restoration of their river habitats and management of river
In essence, the RETROUT project aims to
stimulate sustainable economic and social development based on healthy
ecosystems, reflecting the general HELCOM priorities.
With 14 partners from Sweden, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and including HELCOM, RETROUT is a three-year Interreg
project running until September 2020. RETROUT is a flagship project of the EU
Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy
Area Bioeconomy. It is co-financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region
Programme under the Natural resources
RETROUT Project manager