Population Structure of Burbot (Lota Lota L.) in the Danube

Željka Višnjić-Jeftić1, Zoran Gačić1, Stefan Skorić1, Marija Smederevac-Lalić1, Vesna Djikanović2 and Branislav Mićković1


1 Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, Kneza Višeslava 1, Belgrade, Serbia; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2 Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković", University of Belgrade, Bulevar Despota Stefana 142, Belgrade, Serbia




The goal of the presented study was to provide basic information on the population structure and condition of burbot, Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Danube. In total 145 individuals were collected from commercial catches (the Danube course between Bačka Palanka and Belgrade). The age ranged from 1-6 years and sub-adult fish predominated. The total length ranged from 22 to 63 cm with three length classes between 28 and 39.9 cm which comprised > 70% of the sample size. Three length categories (stock, quality, and preferable), as well as three length groups (stock to quality, quality to preferred, preferred to memorable) were recognised. The mean relative weight for all fish was Wr = 92.0 ± 10.51, and an increasing trend of relative weight across the length groups was observed.

Keywords: burbot, population structure, lenght categorization, Danube




In Serbia, burbot, Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758), lives in waters of the Danube watershed inhabiting both the lowland and highland rivers. Regardless it is considered as an excellent indicator species and as an important aquatic community member (Stapanian et al. 2010; Edwards et al. 2011), little is known about its biological characteristics on the national level. There are only a few studies concerning this species (Janković, 1986; Nikčević et al. 1995; Skorić et al. 2013). The reason for the unsatisfactory state of knowledge about burbot is that it was considered to be a species of low importance for commercial and recreational fishing. In past periods, burbot was not commercially harvested and catches by local fishers were of negligible economic interest.

However, recent reports indicate that fishing interest in burbot, both in commercial and recreational fishery has grown in the last decade. This is especially true for the Danube populations. Hegediš et al. (2013), in a report on fishery resources in the Belgrade area, classified burbot as a species of commercial importance. Prior to 2009, burbot were not managed in Serbia. Since then, burbot have been listed as a game fish and size landing and harvest limits were imposed. Therefore, stock description and stock assessment, as well as biological information are needed due to fact that burbot has become a species of considerable fisheries importance. The aim of this study was to determine and describe the burbot population structure in the Danube.