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May the Biggest Fish Win?

April 17th, 2008. By Dave Oei. 6,712 views.
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May the Big Fish Win? Only smaller game fish need worry if recent findings on size-targeted fishing from Scripps’ scientists are on the money. They examined the the effects of fishing regulations specifying the throw back of smaller fish on ecological stabilization and species population dynamics.

If you don’t fish, you may not be aware that for many game fish species only those that exceed a certain size may be kept while the remainder are thrown back. For example, in California there is a 10 inch minimum on bocaccio, a type of rockfish. Any smaller and they’re free. Larger ones go in the BBQ.

What the folks at Scripps found was that taking only the larger, and presumably older and mature fish had highly destabilizing effects on fish species populations and the overall area ecology. Thus, they advocate to instead leave behind the older fish as they tend to eat less, help maintain the population pyramid, and produce more viable young.

Sounds good to me since what’s implied is that an overall balanced ecosystem should also improve yields in the long term. For now, we’ll see how long it takes lawmakers to make the change, but don’t expect the fishing lobby to go down without a fight.

Source: Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Photo: Finding Nemo @ Disney

Biology

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