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.

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 August 2, 2014 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 August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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