Seasonal and long-term changes in fishing depth of Lake Constance whitefish
2010, Thomas, Gregor, Rösch, Roland, Eckmann, Reiner
The ecosystem of Lake Constance in central Europe has undergone profound modifications over the last six decades. Seasonal and inter-annual changes in the vertical distribution patterns of whitefish were examined and related to changes in biotic and abiotic gradients. Between 1958 and 2007, the average fishing depth in late summer and autumn was related to two factors influencing food supply of whitefish lake productivity and standing stock biomass. In years with low food supply, whitefish were harvested from greater depths, where temperatures were up to 4° C lower. The whitefish's distribution towards colder water might be a bioenergetic optimisation behaviour whereby fish reduce metabolic losses at lower temperatures, or it may result from a reassessment of habitat preference under conditions of limited food supply, according to the ideal free distribution theory.