Baltic Herring Research Project

Research on the reproductive biology of Baltic herring since the 1980s

Baltic herring research

About the Baltic Herring Research Project

Welcome to the Baltic Herring Research Project’s website! Our primary focus revolves around understanding the reproductive biology of Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) and the many processes and factors that influence clupeid fish in the Baltic Sea. The research started at the University of Turku in the beginning of the 1980s. Since then, the research on herring has continued in the form of several scientific and monitoring sub-projects, which have been carried out in the northern Baltic Archipelago Sea area and especially in the vicinity of the city of Turku (Finland) where we find some of the most important reproductive areas for herring.

These pages present some results of the project, and also offer comprehensive information about the Baltic herring in the northern Baltic Sea. While these fish may be small in size, they play an important role in both the Baltic ecosystem and the region’s fisheries.

Key Contributors to Our Ongoing Research

We are grateful for the support provided by the following organizations and foundations over the years:

  • Sakari Alhopuro Foundation
  • Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation
  • Finnish Cultural Foundation
  • Turku University Foundation
  • Saaristomeren kalatalouden toimintaryhmä (Skärgårdshavets Fiskeleader)
  • Nagu Rotaryklubb
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland
  • Southwest Finland ELY-centre
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
  • Finnish Nature Resources Research Fund
  • Turku Finnish University Society
  • Olvi Foundation

Recent news and events

  • 5.12.2023: “Onko runsain merikalamme silakka vaikeuksissa?” Suomen Luonto 10/2023.
  • Katja Mäkinen will give a presentation on the Baltic herring research at the 2nd Annual Science Day of the Faculty of Science 14.12.2023.
  • 31.10.2023: Marjut Rajasilta & Katja Mäkinen: “Silakkakantojen säilyminen elinvoimaisena riippuu ennen muuta lisääntymisen onnistumisesta” – Turun sanomat, Alio.
  • 28.9.2023: Marjut Rajasilta interviewed in Suomen Kuvalehti article “Kamppailu silakasta
  • 1.9.2023: Jari Hänninen interviewed in Yle News: “Tutkijat moittivat komission esitystä silakan kalastuskiellosta: Täyskielto olisi kalastajille katastrofi” – Yle News.
  • 11.8.2023: Our latest publication, “Effects of incubation temperature and maternal phenotype on Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) eggs and larvae: An experimental study” has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
  • 25.5.2023: Katja Mäkinen gave an oral presentation related to maternal effects in the Baltic herring at the Baltic Sea Science Congress on Friday, August 25th, in Helsinki, Finland.
  • 13.7.2023: Our latest publication, “The prevalence of Corynosoma parasite worms in the Baltic herring and the great cormorants in the northern Baltic Sea, Finland” has been accepted for publication in the International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife.
  • 15.6.2023: Olvi-foundation awarded a 15,000 euro working grant for Johannes Sahlsten’s PhD research.
  • Katja Mäkinen interviewed in Yle News on 26.5. and Helsingin Sanomat on 1.2.2023.
  • Herring research featured in Arja Renell’s art work at John Nurminen Foundation’s “Tuntematon Itämeri” exhibition at Suomenlinna, Helsinki, from 17.5 to 15.9.2023.
  • 20-21.3.2023: Katja Mäkinen gave a poster presentation at the “Kansalliset kalatutkimuspäivät” event, organized by the University of Jyväskylä in Jyväskylä.
  • 1.3.2023: A two-year collaborative project (2023-2024) with the National Resources Institute Finland begins. The project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • 23.1.2023: The ELY-Centre of South-West Finland (VARELY/Kalatalousvarat) grants financial support (15,653 euros) for the Baltic herring survey for the upcoming summer season in 2023.
  • 3.2-5.3.2023: Matterlurgy, with Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright, curated by Taru Elfving: Art exhibition at Titanik gallery (Itäinen Rantakatu 8, Turku) utilizing the work of the project.
  • 30.11.2022: Finished MSc thesis by Johannes Sahlsten (2022): “Prevalence and molecular identification of acanthocephalan parasites (Corynosoma spp.) in the Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) and great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).” Department of Biology, University of Turku.
  • 14.11.2022: The Baltic herring project joins Instagram!
  • 7-11.11.2022: Katja Mäkinen, Johannes Sahlsten, and Aarne Lauerma attended and gave oral and poster presentations at the International Symposium on Small Pelagic Fish: New Frontiers in Science for Sustainable Management in Lisbon, Portugal.
  • 26.8.2022: Katja Mäkinen and Johannes Sahlsten gave a presentation at the “Baltic herring seminar” organized collaboratively by the fishery groups of coastal Finland.

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