Monday, 5 June 2017

Big fish in big trouble in Europe

Date: June 1, 2017
Source: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

A new study by an international team of scientists, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, warns that many large fish species, including many of the sharks and rays of Europe, are threatened with extinction. Confirming the findings of previous studies, the scientists highlight regional differences in fish stock status in Europe and point to overfishing in the Mediterranean.

Marine fish play an important role in marine ecosystems, but are also a major food source for marine animals and humans. The new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution found that the bigger the fish, the more likely it is to be threatened with extinction. This is because they are more susceptible to threats such as overfishing because they grow slower, take longer to mature, have fewer offspring and are in higher demand for food consumption and recreational fishing.

The research team studied the status of commercial fish stocks all around Europe to assess the extinction risk of fish. The JRC contributed to the study by analysing stock assessment data of commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean stock assessment data were produced by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), a Commission expert group for which the JRC acts as the secretariat and provides expertise in stock assessments.


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