Climate change scenarios concerning the Baltic Sea predict increase in surface water temperatures. Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca (L.)) inhabits the coastal areas of the northern Baltic Sea and is an important fish species for the Finnish fisheries. The year-class strength of pikeperch varies strongly between years and significantly depends on water temperature. We aimed to study the effects of changing temperature conditions on pikeperch fisheries and distribution based on commercial catch data from the period 1980–2008 in the Finnish coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. The results indicated that warmer summers will produce stronger pikeperch year-classes that consequently contribute significantly to the future catches. The average temperature in June–July explained 40% of the variation in the year-class catches in the Gulf of Finland and 73% in July–August in the Archipelago Sea. During the study period, the distribution of pikeperch catches expanded toward north along the coasts of the Bothnian Sea.
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Vol. 40 • No. 5