Effects of Fish Stocking on Ecosystem Services: An Overview and Case Study Using the Stockholm Archipelago

In this article, we focus on documented and possible effects of fish stocking in terms of ecosystem services. The increasing use of fish stocking between 1970 and 2000 in the semiurban setting of Stockholm archipelago, Sweden, is used as case study. The objective is to analyze this management practice from an ecosystem perspective, accounting for both the ecological and social context of releasing fish. The results show that enhancements of four native species (Salmo S. trutta, Salmo salar, Stizostedion lucioperca, and Anguilla anguilla) have dominated over new introductions of one nonnative species. (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The major objective has been to increase fish catches for local resource users. Involved stakeholders include three management agencies, one hydropower company, and several local sport fishing associations. Documented effects focus on recapture and production rates. However, our analysis suggests that additional positive or negative effects on biodiversity, food web dynamics, mobile links, or ecological information may also result, with possible consequences for the long-term provision of food, game, and aesthetic values. We conclude that a more adaptive and cooperative management approach could benefit from a deeper analysis of where, when, and what species is released, by whom, which stakeholders that use the fish and those ecosystem services the fish generate, and of the role of formal and informal institutions for monitoring and evaluating the success of releasing fish.

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