Due to low fish stocks, a year-round closed season for whitefish is being discussed at Lake Constance. The International Plenipotentiary Conference for Lake Constance Fisheries (IBKF) is considering the measure as one of several, as it announced.

Since the beginning of the year, the IBKF has often exchanged views on the situation in Lake Constance fishing. Fishing opportunities and marketing of other fish would also be discussed. A decision on how to proceed in the future could be made at the annual IBKF conference on June 21 in Switzerland.

Fish stocks are generally declining

Blue whitefish is considered to be the Lake Constance fish par excellence. The demand for the edible fish is particularly high among holidaymakers, which is why fish farming systems on Lake Constance have already been discussed. Fishermen have been complaining about the low earnings situation for years. According to a report, 107 tons went into the net in 2021, ten years ago it was more than 600 tons. In their opinion, the too low nutrient content in Lake Constance leads to a small amount of food for the animals – which causes them to grow more slowly.

On the other hand, an immigrant species of fish, the stickleback, has been eating up more and more plankton since an explosive increase in numbers a few years ago. The cormorant, a resident fish-eating bird, and the quagga, which also draws nutrients, do the rest. Not only whitefish suffer from the conditions, the fish population is generally declining.

Association against fishing ban as the only solution

There is already a closed season for whitefish on Lake Constance, as Elke Dilger from the Association of Baden Professional Fishermen announced. It applies from October 15th to January 10th. A year-round ban on fishing cannot be the only solution, said the head of the association. The fish population is not only influenced by fishermen, many factors play a role – including the stickleback and cormorant stocks, which also have a negative effect on the offspring of whitefish. These issues need to be addressed.

Sustainable fishing on Lake Constance has been working well for years. We are proud of the fisheries. “It’s a shame if we continue to become more dependent on fish imports from abroad.”