Such capture had not existed for more than 100 years. The fishermen of Hamburg had an adult sea trout on the hook in the Alster.
For the first time in over 100 years, the fishermen have captured, according to their information, a sea trout completely grown in a breeding area in the Alster in Hamburg. "Sea trout must have made its way into the North Sea and back, but the fact that this complex reproductive cycle seems to have succeeded is now a sensation," said Frank Schlichting of the fishing club "Alster", which captured the fish on November 29th.
He was particularly struck by the fact that the fish had not only taken the fish ladders established in the mill and the town hall for two years, but had also skipped two more locks without help.
From Hamburg to the North Sea and back
Fisheries biologist Robin Giesler of the Angelsportverband Hamburg, who was there during the capture, said it would be very unusual if the animal had remained in fresh water since its inception. "More likely, the trout actually comes from the North Sea."
For scientific tests, however, small stones in the fish's ear canal should be examined. They would change their composition in salt water. But the animal should have been killed for that. "Sea trout is a tip for the Alster ecosystem", Giesler explained the importance of the discovery. That the fish arrived in Duvenstedt shows the improved consistency of the Alster.
Hamburg supports projects to revitalize the Alster with millions of people
According to Wolfram Hammer of the "Lebendige Alster" project, in recent years the city of Hamburg has invested more than two million euros in fishing vessels to improve permeability. At the end of November, the conservation project exposed 4,000 sea trout eggs fertilized in the Alster in gravel beds previously built above and below the Poppenbüttler lock to test natural exposure conditions.
A preliminary test with fish eggs at a more mature stage has already been successful, according to Hammer. More recently, the adult sea trout was captured in the Alster at the beginning of the 20th century.
The project is supported by the city
The fisherman Schlichting with his club claims to have spent ten years each year 25,000 Brütlingen in the tributary streams of the Alster to restore sea trout. From 2018 it is supported by the city of Hamburg with a maximum of 5,000 euros. According to him, the fish remains in the water courses for about a year for a length of about ten centimeters and then moves to the Alster.
There they would live another year until they reach a length of about 20-25 centimeters. Eventually, the young sea trout moved through the Elbe to the North Sea, where after about three years they would be about 60 inches long and sexually mature.
Schlichting assumes that only between 0.1 and one percent of the 25,000 fish on display will make a grueling journey. But none of them has ever been seen – until now. "I expect we will find even more mature trout downstream."
For him, the 55 cm sea trout is proof of the success of his project. Even the non-party economy minister Michael Westhagemann described the capture as a sensation. The Fisheries Authority will continue to support voluntary nature conservation work.