Larger Fish Produce Hardier Offspring

Research published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters journal suggests that fisheries management must consider population demography.

Modeling the life history demographics of 25 different marine fish species, Canadian scientists have found that larger, older female fish produce tougher offspring than their younger counterparts.

In efforts to make fisheries more sustainable, conserving the elder female fish could help sustain populations. Currently the findings of the research are out of sync with real-life fisheries practice, where the largest fish are sought. Overfishing results from this practice because of the two-fold effect of removing the best breeders, and subsequently reducing the rate of recruitment in the local population.

It is suggested that by enforcing size regulations, altering the size of fishing gear and how it’s used could protect the bigger older individuals. The practicality of implementing these measures on the ground are not explored explicitly however, and targeting large female fish within populations could be very difficult to implement.

Do blog readers believe that European fisheries practices are sustainable? Does the Common Fisheries Policy need re-evaluating?

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