Author: Ervin Molnar, Head of the Ecolacus Project Implementation Unit – Biodiversity and Water Protection Lake Palic and Lake Ludas

The third campaign of Lake Palic selective fishing – in progress!

The complete equipment has been provided, and the bio manipulative measures are being implemented efficiently within the ECOLACUS Project. One of the measures is regular selective fishing of allochthonous and invasive fish species in Lake Palic (primarily silver carp – babushka) to establish the appropriate composition of the fish stock.

After several theory-based attempts, positive results were gained only when the approach itself was modified in practice. The German fishermen pilot project and the analytical approach, being the pre-project activities, determined the guidelines for the tool selection used for selective fishing during the project itself. Special trap nets with smaller mesh netting proved to be the most efficient. They were made to order to suit the catching of small silver carp specimens (babushka) in Lake Palic. Apart from the efficiency in catching the non-native species, it is extremely important to state that the trap nets are suitable for use given that it is possible to return almost all autochthonous species (to be found in the nets) unharmed with almost 100% survival result.

Since the first selective fishing campaign was successfully conducted with a total of five trap nets in the spring of 2019, and that three more were provided for the second campaign, the fishing continued with eight in total during the summer of 2020. The combination of additional tools and the gained experience, as well, contributed to the exceptional results of the second selective fishing campaign. The catch exceeded expectations many times and proved that the applied approach was extremely effective.

Even though based on the first analyzes, it was concluded that the population of silver carp in Lake Palic Sector IV could be balanced with other fish species if 150 tons of them were caught, the practice tells us differently again. The summarized results of all three selective fishing campaigns, of which the third is ongoing, make approximately 170 tons. In addition to the fact that the initial predictions for the quantities were exceeded, the daily catch in the current campaign is not decreasing, so it is logical to conclude that it is justified to make additional efforts and continue fishing.

The ultimate goal of the Ecolacus project would certainly be to bring the population of non-native species to an optimal condition, which, in turn, would lead to the natural empowerment of indigenous species and biodiversity preservation.