Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Glacial Relicts

Glacial relicts are species that originate from time after the last glacial period approximately 12,000 years ago. The present knowledge on population status and trends of glacial relict fish species is very scarce. Baltic relict species include fish such as eelpout (Zoarces viviparus), lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) and fourhorned sculpin (Myoxocephalus quadricornis). These species inhabit deep cold-water layers with sufficient amount of oxygen in relativ​ely low abundances and their main distribution area is the northern Baltic Sea.

Glacial relict species are probably negatively influenced by excessive eutrophication, subsequent oxygen depletion on deep bottoms and contamination by toxic substances. They represent a specific trophic function in the Baltic Sea being the only potentially abundant vertebrate predators in the deep and cold waters.

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) Photo: Carlos Suárez/OCEANA