Monday, 21 May 2018

Should ‘superspawners’ stir up fisheries management?

By Erik StokstadMay. 10, 2018 , 2:50 PM

There is no fertility clock for fish. Unlike in mammals, the reproductive ability of most female fish just keeps increasing as they age and grow—bigger fish produce more and more eggs. In many species, the fecundity gains can be especially impressive, creating what might be called “superspawners” that produce disproportionately large numbers of offspring, a new study finds. But these reproductive giants aren’t getting enough protection under fishing regulations, the authors suggest.

Some fisheries scientists disagree with that conclusion. But the finding is “a perfect reminder that in order to rebuild fish stocks and prepare them for global change, we have to increase the proportion of large fish,” says Rainer Froese, a marine ecologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, who was not involved in the study.

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