Estonian waters saw plenty of new fish in autumn 16.11

The RMK Põlula Fish Rearing Department populated Estonian waters with 210,000 young salmons, whitefish and sturgeons to restore fish stock.

The largest number, 124,200 one-year-old salmon, were taken to River Pärnu where they were spread out over the rapids in 14 locations between Türi and Sindi. Smaller amounts were delivered to salmon populations in Valgejõgi (26,500 salmon) and River Purtse (11,400 salmon). These small fish weighing 4-10 grams will remain in the rivers for another 0.5-1.5 years.

“After that, the salmon will migrate to the sea for feeding and the survivors will return to breed in the rivers within two to four years when they’re mature and weigh five kilograms on average,” explained RMK’s Fish Rearing Department Advisor Ene Saadre.

The whitefish were bred from roe originating from three areas to which the fish were also returned after a year.

Autumn transfer of whitefish into the Paldiski bay. Photo: Kadri Kauksi

“The whitefish grew surprising well this year, more than twice as large compared to previous years,” noted Saadre.

21,400 Pärnu whitefish were delivered to the River Pärnu, 19,000 Peipsi whitefish arrived at Lake Peipus and the Paldiski Bay received 5400 whitefish. All whitefish have had their adipose fin removed for marking.

The RMK Fish Rearing Department in cooperation with Wildlife Estonia also participated in the fourth season of the restoration of the Atlantic sturgeon population in the Baltic Sea. The Atlantic sturgeon, which used to be one of the most prized fish species in the Baltic Sea, has gone extinct in Europe within the past century. Baltic Sea countries have now begun to restore the sturgeon population. Breeding stock is raised by a research facility in Germany. Historically, the sturgeon has spawned in the River Narva.

“That’s where we take our locally grown fishes – around a thousand sturgeons aged a couple of months were released into the River Narva as well as around two thousand two-year-olds. 600 of those fish have a mark placed under their dorsal fin to collect data about their habitat preferences and migration,” said Ene Saadre.

Estonian fish stock already received a sizeable contribution in spring when a total of around half a million whitefish, trout, salmon and sturgeon where released into various bodies of water.
The scale of whitefish and sturgeon repopulation is planned to be increased within the coming years and the primary focus will continue to be the restoration of the salmon population in the River Pärnu.

The RMK Fish Rearing Department will also continue to breed the rare and endangered freshwater pearl mussel to restore their population.

“Our good partners and supporters in restoring fish populations are primarily the fishers of Paldiski Bay, students of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, workgroups of Wildlife Estonia and the University of Tartu Estonian Marine Institute Peipus, Pärnu field base employees and volunteers of the Fishing Village and the company Davines. We are very grateful for their help,” said Ene Saadre.

The Põlula Fish Rearing Centre is the only state-owned fish farm in Estonia. Põlula Fish Farm has brought over 8 million salmon, whitefish, brown trout, river trout, sturgeon and grayling young fish into bodies of water since 1997. The largest amount of them are salmon and their efforts to increase the abundance of salmon in rivers flowing into the Gulf of Finland have finally borne fruit.

Further information:
Ene Saadre
RMK’s Fish Rearing Department Advisor
+372 516 2554