Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Study identifies fish vulnerable to trawling

By Mark Kinver
Environment reporter, BBC News

5 August 2015 
From the sectionScience & Environment

The study showed fish that were faster sprinters were more likely to evade capture in fishing nets

Using laboratory-based experiments, researchers have identified the common characteristics of fish most vulnerable to being caught by trawlers.

They found fish that were less able to produce fast burst-type swimming to evade capture were more likely to end up in trawlers' nets.

The data could help answer questions about fisheries-induced evolutionary change in fish populations, they added.

"What we were interested in, within a trawling scenario, was whether there was a variation among the fish in terms of how likely they were to be captured," explained lead author Shaun Killen from the University of Glasgow.

"We looked at what role individual physiology played in determining which fish were captured and which ones were not."

Trawling for answers

Writing in their paper, Dr Killen and colleagues observed: "Selective harvest of animals by humans probably represents one of the strongest drivers of evolutionary change for wild animals."

They added that previous studies had suggested that hunting and fishing could lead to genetic changes within wild populations.

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