Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changing The Course Of Nature: Are Fisheries Directing The Evolution Of Fish Populations?

Date:
September 10, 2009
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
For many of the types of fish we buy in stores or order in restaurants, the chance that an individual dies from fishing is several times higher than dying of natural causes. This may seem obvious to most (they had to get to our table somehow), but what may not be apparent is that the relentless pursuit of consumer-friendly fish product is having a massive impact on fish populations around the world. By repeatedly choosing only the biggest fish, or only those found in certain habitats, the fisheries industry may be permanently altering the genetic composition of fish populations.

Commercial fishing trawler.
Credit: iStockphoto/Frank Van Haalen

For many of the types of fish we buy in stores or order in restaurants, the chance that an individual dies from fishing is several times higher than dying of natural causes. This may seem obvious to most (they had to get to our table somehow), but what may not be apparent is that the relentless pursuit of consumer-friendly fish product is having a massive impact on fish populations around the world. By repeatedly choosing only the biggest fish, or only those found in certain habitats, the fisheries industry may be permanently altering the genetic composition of fish populations.

Related Articles


What are the long-term evolutionary implications of prolonged fishing for the fish that humans and, perhaps more importantly, diverse ecosystems so depend on? A group of concerned international scientists convened at the 2008 American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting to address this issue, and contributions to the symposium are now available online in an August 2009 special issue of Evolutionary Applications.

Several groups of scientists focused on teasing apart how much of the shift in fish morphology, development and behavior that has been documented over the years is due to genetic versus non-genetic changes. Long-term genetic changes may be more problematic since these may not be reversible and they make predicting the composition of fish stocks in the future very difficult. Equally contentious among scientists was distinguishing between changes that were caused by artificial selection due to fishing per se, versus environmental influences such as habitat destruction or climate change.

The articles in the special issue use multiple approaches to address these concerns and together come to the conclusion that in many cases, fish stocks are indeed evolving in response to the artificial selection pressure imposed by fishing. Shifts in yield-determining traits such as growth and maturation are evident, and how quickly these changes manifest depends on the type of fishing gear and the rate of harvest.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the future sustainability of wild fish stocks, fisheries evolution scientists make several key recommendations: protect a portion of the stock through the creation of non-fished marine protected areas, protect late-maturing and slow-growing individuals, and perhaps the most difficult but most effective: fish less.

This Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications, 2:3, is available free online at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119423602/home.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Changing The Course Of Nature: Are Fisheries Directing The Evolution Of Fish Populations?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910091635.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2009, September 10). Changing The Course Of Nature: Are Fisheries Directing The Evolution Of Fish Populations?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910091635.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Changing The Course Of Nature: Are Fisheries Directing The Evolution Of Fish Populations?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910091635.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Elephants Help Keep 18-Wheeler From Toppling Over

Newsy (Mar. 25, 2015) The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff&apos;s Office discovered two elephants keeping a tractor-trailer that had gotten stuck in some mud upright on a highway. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Baby 'pet' Orangutan Rescued from Chicken Cage Takes First Steps

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Buti, a baby orangutan who was left malnourished in a chicken cage before his rescue, takes his first steps after months of painful physical therapy. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins