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The term “inland fisheries” as used here is not closely defined because inland waters (eaux continentales) intergrade with the salty or euhaline waters of the sea. The waters discussed in this review include natural flowing or lotic waters such as rivers or streams, including their smaller elements such as springs, brooks, rivulets, or rills; artificial canals; and static or lenitic waters such as natural lakes and tarns, and artificial lakes or reservoirs. They also include lagoons (étangs, Strandseen, or Haffs), i.e., coastal areas of shallow static water which have a permanent or temporary connection with the sea. In general, the waters included are fresh or limnetic, but may also include those with a mixtue of fresh and salt water, known as brackish or mixohaline, characteristic of estuaries or river mouths, fjords, and lagoons. It must be noted that a “sea” such as the Baltic has such low salinity that it supports not only marine forms but some truly freshwater fishes. Conversely, some “brackish” waters of the Mediterranean (mixoeuhaline) may be more saline than the open ocean.

The fishes discussed are primarily freshwater forms, but also include the diadromous fishes which migrate between fresh and salt water; examples are the anadromous Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and catadromous European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Some of the brackish water or lagoon fishes are also included, e.g., the grey mullets (Mugil spp.), and gilthead (Sparus auratus). As stated above, although no exact definition of inland fisheries can be given, most of the European fishes of major economic importance which have general dependence on fresh or brackish water have been included. Freshwater crayfish are also discussed, but the crustaceans and molluscs of brackish water have not been included since the emphasis here is on finfishes. It is agreed that the distinction is somewhat arbitrary.1

The other part of the title, “Europe”, refers to that part of the Eurasian continent west of the Urals excluding the USSR. The larger associated islands of the Atlantic and Mediterranean are included as is all of Turkey which is partly in Europe and partly in Asia. All of the European countries are reviewed except the Democratic Republic of Germany (for which data were not readily available), and Monaco and Vatican City (Holy See) which do not have inland fisheries.2

1 Some of the difficulties inherent in distinguishing between inland and marine fishing areas, whether based on locality, species caught, craft, gear involved, or administrative agency, are discussed in Coordinating Working Party on Atlantic Fishery Statistics (1980) which says in part: “It has been suggested that the practice of declaring all waters above the mean tide levels, including the coastal lagoons and estuaries, as part of the inland water area, as being the only practical solution. These are the areas as recognized to be inland by IPFC, COPESCAL, CIFA and EIFAC.”

2 It should be noted that the FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics in its objective and all-inclusive way, continues to list the inland fisheries of Monaco and Vatican City as: “none”, “nil”, “zero”, or “negligible”.


An attempt has been made to use the same geographical or place names that are used in the country under discussion, within the limits that the alphabet or language permits.

However, “conventional” names have been used for certain geographical entities which are: (i) universally known by these names, or (ii) lie upon the borders of two or more countries which use quite different names. Examples of the first category are the use of “Rome” rather than the proper Italian Rome (since “Rome” is generally accepted throughout the world), or “Rhine” and “Danube” for these great international rivers which bear varying names throughout their courses and are better known by the more universal terms. As an example of the second category, the term “Lake Ohrid” is used for the international border lake known as Ligen i Ohrit in Albania, but as Ohridsko Jerezo in Yugoslavia.

When using place names which have several variations, an attempt has been made to indicate the name actually used within the country in question by underlining it the first time it appears. Thus, while discussing the Danube, the name Donau is indicated in Germany or Austria, in Czechoslovakia it is the Dunaj, in Hungary it is the Duna, in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria the Dunav, and in Romania the Dunǎrea. Standard accents or diacritical marks are generally used.


For purposes of uniformity, the comon and scientific names of the fishes mentioned are, with but a few exceptions, those used in “European Inland Water Fish: A Multilingual Catalogue” (Blanc, et al., 1971) which was designed to stabilize nomenclature within the EIFAC countries. In general these also agree with those used in the FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics. When listed, the species usually follow the taxonomic order used in these references.


References specific to only one country appear in section 10 for the country under review.

References referring to more than one country or of a general nature, such as a European geography, are listed under “General References”.

Not all of the references are cited in the text, but it is thought useful to list them as indicative of source material.


The metric system is used throughout for all measurements of length, area, capacity, weight, temperature, time, etc.

The following abbreviations are used:

Square metrem2
Hectare (10 000 m2)ha
Square kilometre (100 ha)km2
Cubic metrem3
Cubic kilometrekm3
Tonne (metric ton)t
Seconds or sec
Cubic metes per secondm3/s
Milligrams per litremg/l
Parts per thousandppt
Parts per millionppm


0 - The official name of the country and status is consistent with that of the United Nations (UN).

1 - AREA: Derived from each country's own statistical yearbook wherever possible, otherwise taken from standard sources such as the UN Statistical Yearbook.

2 - POPULATION: For consistency, unless otherwise specified, derived from “World Population Prospects, Estimates and Projections as Assessed in 1984” (UN, 1986).

3 - PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY: Wherever possible, each country's statistical yearbook or its other official publications have been used for specific data such as boundaries, dimensions, altitudes, etc. Otherwise, standard sources such as international yearbooks, basic geographies, or encyclopaedias have been used. Where authorities generally agree, it has not been thought necessary to reference each fact. References have been cited, however, where wide discrepancies occur (e.g., some of the tables on aquacultural production), or where credit seems due.

4 - CLIMATE: Statistical Yearbooks and other standard sources have been used.

5 - HYDROGRAPHY AND LIMNOLOGY: Official yearbooks or standard gazetteers have been used where possible to list the lengths of rivers or shorelines. Although an attempt has been made to achieve consistency, lengths have been calculated differently by different sources and so may not appear uniformly here. It is further to be noted that the grand total of river lengths given for any country or sub-area cannot be taken too seriously. River lengths are calculated from cartographic data. The reliability of the result depends upon the quality of the map, its scale, and the accuracy of the determiner. For example, Lockerman (1958) has pointed out that calculations of the length of the Nile vary from 6 484 km to 6 671 km depending upon whether one uses maps of the scale of 1:1 000 000 or mainly those of 1:250 000 and 1:100 000. Similarly, Håkanson (1978) has shown that a shoreline of a lake (e.g., Lake Vanern) is about 1 000 km if determined on a map on a scale of 1:1 000 000, but about 1 900 km from a map on the scale of 1:50 000.

Similarly, the number of lakes calculated for a country may depend upon the scale of the map used, as well as the definition of a “lake”.

Statistics on runoff have been derived primarily from Van der Leeden (1975) and ECE (1978). More recent statistics are, of course, available, but their determination is often difficult, and there is some advantage in using a common authority (such as Van der Leeden) in order to make comparisons easier.

6 - LAND AND WATER USE: The percentages shown in the tables of Pattern of Land Use have been calculated from records of actual areas shown in the source.

Most railyway and road statistics and passenger car densities stem from standard yearbooks or almanacs, or are based on calculations using data from other sources. The standard authorities differ greatly in their data concerning the length of roads and railways. Consequently, all such figures must be considered as relative.

Energy statistics, unless otherwise noted, are from the 1987 Yearbook of Energy Statistics.

7 - FISH AND FISHERIES: Although every FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics since Volume 36 (published 1974) has been examined for catch statistics, the final versions in the tables using FAO statistics were almost all derived as follows: period of 1965–69 from Vol. 36, period of 1984–87 from Vol. 64, and period of 1970–83 from the FAO Fisheries Department's Fishery Statistical Database (FISHDAB) which furnishes computer print-outs. FISHDAB is the most accurate source available for the FAO figures since it is updated annually, while the printed Yearbooks may provide provisional data which awaits revision. However, it must be noted that in the FISHDAB tabulations, unless the catches are reported numerically, i.e., from one metric ton up, the catch for an individual species or species group which is represented for each country appears there only as “0”. In the printed Yearbooks this symbol or similar ones (“0.0” and “00”) have had varying meanings, including “negligible” or “insignificant”, or - depending upon the years of coverage - a variable numerical amount. With the general approval of the FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Service, I have, therefore, lumped all the zeros to mean: probably nil, negligible or insignificant; or less than 50 metric tons during the 1965–73 period, or less than half a metric ton during later years.


The maps, which are composites from many sources, usually indicate only some of the major geographic entities or points of reference (such as cities) which are described in the text. Often, only the larger or best known rivers, lakes, reservoirs, canals, or lagoons are shown. The same applies to regions, mountain ranges, bays, or other geographic units. In some cases, such as in the Netherlands where the hydrographic pattern is constantly changing, the maps can by no means be considered definitive.

For each country, the map precedes the text. The tables are numbered consecutively, from Table 1 on, within the report for each country.

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