Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Multidecadal dynamics of non-commercial fish

Compared to commercial fish, there is relatively limited information available about the dynamics of non-commercial fish that very often play important structural and functional roles in marine ecosystems.

Long-term investigations that provide quantitative estimates of the population dynamics as a function of environmental variability are needed to understand the ecology and role of the non-commercial fish in the ecosystem, and assist the ecosystem based management where relevant.


Goby larvae exhibited substantial long-term decline in abundance and their appearance has shifted earlier in the season.

The abundance of larval Pomatoschistus spp. have exhibited about four-fold decreased over the last 50 years along with the concomitant decrease in the water transparency. The first appearance of larvae has shifted for about two weeks earlier and is mostly related to the timing of ice cover breakdown. However, some of the effects of the environmental forcing on larval fish may be obscured by the uncertainty of species identification of individuals of the genus Pomatoschistus at larval stage, and the investigated population of Pomatoschistus spp. consists of at least two species with slightly different ecologies and also environmental preferences.

Relevance for Policy:
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Data availability:

Data used: Data used in this study were started to collect since the 1950s and contain larval fish and related environmental data. In this study, annually aggregated data was used.

Where it is held: Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu

Contact: Henn Ojaveer,

Availability: The data, excl. larval fish data, are not open accessed.

Larval fish data available at:



Lead Author:

Kerli Laur & Henn Ojaveer
Estonian Marine Institute (EMI-UT)
Date of research: November 2013

Related articles:

Changes in herring larvae and environment 1957-2010

Vital rates of fish larvae 

Early life stage survival of Baltic cod

Functional responses of herring and sprat to prey 

Growth model for jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca 

Impact of environmental changes on North Sea herring

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The content of this website may be subject to copyright, if you wish to use any of the information or figures please contact the attributed author(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
© Vectors 2015. Coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.