SSAB and the northern pike farm – Pike factory in Oxelösund
SSAB in Oxelösund is the first industrial company that has decided to partially finance the restoration of the spawning ground for northern pike in Långsjön in Sörmland. The initiative is perennial with the goal of stabilizing the local ecosystem on the east coast of Östersjön (the Baltic Sea) and to reduce algal blooms in the long term.
The Swedish Anglers and Fish Conservation Association and Anglers will work with the land owners to run the work on the northern pike farm. The project aims to recreate the shallow and open water mirrors of Långsjön, an environment that provides the perfect spawning ground for northern pike during the spring migration up from the Baltic Sea. Today, nearly 90 percent of spawning northern pike are lost through ditches around Sweden.
Kristina Branteryd Environmental manager, SSAB Oxelösund
What is a northern pike farm?
“Northern pike farms are favorable spawning grounds for pike to support an increase in the number of predators again. Today there is an ecological imbalance in the ocean, which nature itself is not able to restore. There is a deficit in the number of predatory fish that can eat the medium fish. Medium fish such as sprats for example, eat large quantities of small fish that feed on algae. When algae is not sustained by the small fish, we get big accumulations, with algae blooms as a result.”
Why is SSAB interested?
“We have strong ties to the ocean and we are working hard to get the ocean outside SSAB to feel as good as possible. It is mainly nitrogen emissions that can benefit eutrophication as we are trying to get the levels down as low as possible. In the ‘60s when SSAB expanded, spawning and nursery areas for northern pike probably disappeared, and what we are looking at is how to create more spawning areas for them. Långsjön, which is located south of Oxelösund on the Tunaberg Peninsula, is one such lake that was previously a successful spawning ground. Local residents have testified that in the ‘60s, around 50-70 big northern pike could be caught in nets on a daily basis during the spring, which would have been the main source of income for the fisherman. Today, we know that a spawning ground could generate nearly 150,000 emigrating young northern pike. So what we are talking about is that SSAB could do it as a compensatory measure. It is unique, and SSAB would then become the first industrial giant to become involved in the restoration of local coastal ecosystems.”
What happens now?
“Hopefully, the project can start in August 2016 once full financing is complete. SSAB will sponsor approximately half of the total cost. It is a unique opportunity for SSAB to contribute to improving the local environment and our coast, which provides a lot of enjoyment to many of our employees.”