Twenty alien species have become established in the lakes Mälaren, Vänern, Vättern and Hjälmaren. Intentional introductions include fish and the signal crayfish from North America, ornamental plants, and the Canada goose. Unintentional introductions include the crayfish plague introduced with infected crayfish, the zebra mussel, and Chinese mitten crab introduced with ballast water. The introduction of pathogens and parasites, in particular the crayfish plague, to the lakes has had the greatest environmental and socioeconomic effects and has contributed to the decimation of the indigenous noble crayfish. The stocking of brown trout and salmon with origins from different biogeographical regions has contributed to the extinction of relict indigenous fish species in L. Vänern. Although major ecosystem damage caused by the introduction of alien species, with the exception of the crayfish plague, has not occurred in the four large Swedish lakes, local problems of considerable dignity occur occasionally.
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Vol. 30 • No. 8