Nav: Home

Fish evolve by playing it safe

March 21, 2017

New research supports the creation of more marine reserves in the world's oceans because, the authors say, fish can evolve to be more cautious and stay away from fishing nets.

The research suggests that by creating additional "no-take" areas, some fish will stay within marine reserves where they are protected from fishing. While other fish will move around the ocean, these less mobile fish will continue to live in the protected areas, pass this behaviour on to their offspring, and contribute to future generations to increase the overall stock.

"Even for fish like tuna and sharks that spend a lot of time far from shore, marine reserves are an important conservation tool," said Jonathan Mee, lead author of the study and a faculty member at Mount Royal University who conducted this research while completing a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC. "We used mathematical modelling to find out under what conditions marine reserves might push fish to evolve to escape capture."

In a collaboration between UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre and the Sea Around Us project at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, researchers modeled the movements of skipjack and bluefin tuna and great white sharks in the ocean.

They found evidence that within 10 years of creating new marine reserves, the movement pattern of tuna could change while it would take up to five decades for the longer-living great white shark to change. They also found evidence that the greater the fishing pressure close to the reserves, the faster the fish would evolve to stay in the protected space.

The researchers argue there is a need to create more marine reserves because fishing operations have grown exponentially in recent decades, leading to a global catch decline of 1.2 million tonnes of fish per year.

"The boats got bigger and now we can cover the entire range of the tuna. The distance doesn't protect them, depth doesn't protect them, nothing protects them except our decision to remove ourselves from certain areas in the form of marine reserves," said Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea Around Us project and a co-author of the study. "A well-controlled marine reserve would, at least in part, protect against the effect of overfishing outside the reserve."

These findings show fisheries managers, conservation planners, environmentalists and professionals in the fishing industry the effectiveness of marine reserves.

"The reserves are likely more effective than previously thought in preventing extinction for some species, protecting biodiversity and even acting as an insurance policy," said Sarah Otto of UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre.

The study was published last week in Evolutionary Applications: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12460/full
-end-


University of British Columbia

Related Fishing Articles:

Oversight of fishing vessels lacking, new analysis shows
Policies regulating fishing in international waters do not sufficiently protect officials who monitor illegal fishing, the prohibited dumping of equipment, or human trafficking or other human rights abuses, finds a new analysis by a team of environmental researchers.
Microplastics from ocean fishing can 'hide' in deep sediments
Microplastic pollution in the world's oceans is a growing problem, and most studies of the issue have focused on land-based sources, such as discarded plastic bags or water bottles.
Neither fishing tales nor sailor's yarn
An international team led by Robert Arlinghaus from the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have developed a method for combining the empirical knowledge of fishery stakeholders in such a way that the result corresponds to the best scientific understanding.
Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins
Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.
Another casualty of climate change? Recreational fishing
Another casualty of climate change will likely be shoreline recreational fishing, according to new research.
Longline fishing hampering shark migration
Longline fisheries around the world are significantly affecting migrating shark populations, according to an international study featuring a University of Queensland researcher.
Fishing leads to investigation of environmental changes in waterways
A fisherman's curiosity led to identification of the correlation between microbial communities in recreational freshwater locales and seasonal environmental changes, according to a team of researchers from Penn State.
Industrial fishing behind plummeting shark numbers
A team of researchers, led by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), has discovered that sharks are much rarer in habitats nearer large human populations and fish markets.
Fishing a line coupled with clockwork for daily rhythm
Cells harbor molecular clocks that generate a circadian oscillation of about 24 h.
Fishing among worst jobs for health
People working in the fishing industry have among the poorest health of all workers in England and Wales, new research suggests.
More Fishing News and Fishing Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.