Size and selected characteristics of northern pike (Esox lucius L.) commercial and angling catches in Polish inland waters over the long term
Northern pike (Esox lucius L.) is of great importance to inland commercial and recreational fisheries in Poland. Thanks to northern pike’s substantial size, strength, the possibility of using a variety of fishing methods and techniques and various baits, and many other values, lake anglers value this species above all others. Additionally, for over a decade, northern pike has been the most widely stocked species in Polish inland waters of lakes, rivers and dam reservoirs. The aim of this work was to analyze in detail the size and characteristics of northern pike commercial fisheries and angling catches in Polish inland waters over the long term. The analyses were based on a compilation of traditional scientific papers, primarily analyses of commercial catches, and a review of the results of more than 40 years of studies on the size of northern pike angling catches. The analysis of research material indicated a steady decrease in commercial catches of this species in the years State Fisheries Enterprises (SFE) were in operation followed by relative stability in catches over the past two decades. The paper describes the methods used to estimate angling catches, namely questionnaire and catch-return (the so-called register) research. An increasing disproportion between the sizes of pike catches made with angling and commercial fishing gear was documented. Despite the problems presented in the paper related to estimating total pike catches, the analysis revealed that anglers catch eightfold more northern pike than do commercial fishers.