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Keywords:

  • electric fishing;
  • European standard;
  • fish community;
  • gillnet;
  • hydroacoustic

Abstract  Standardised fishing methods using gillnets (EN 14575), electric fishing (EN 14011) and hydroacoustics (WI 00230244 CEN enquiry) to estimate species composition, abundance, biomass and size distribution were compared in 14 alpine lakes >50 ha. More fish species were detected using benthic gillnets (mean = 72.7%) than electric fishing (mean = 59.5%) and pelagic gillnets (mean = 29.6%). For all but two lakes, additional information from a local fisheries manager was required to obtain a complete list of species. Biomass data generated by standardised gillnetting and hydroacoustic surveys were not fully comparable, but a positive correlation was found. Gill netting and hydroacoustics both indicated a nearly fishless habitat below 75 m, which confirmed the maximum required fishing depth according to the European Standard EN 14757. Size distributions obtained from gillnet and hydroacoustic surveys differed statistically for large fish (>40 cm). Each standardised method reflected typical shortcomings. The European standard (EN 14757) should be amended for pelagic fish habitat in deep alpine lakes to include sampling effort corresponding to water volume, and additional gillnets with larger mesh sizes (e.g. 70 mm). Furthermore, the electric fishing standard (EN 14011) should be extended to incorporate requirements of lake fish sampling.