Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institut für Agrar- und Gartenbauwissenschaften

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Albrecht Daniel Thaer - Institut für Agrar- und Gartenbauwissenschaften | Institut | Departments und Fachgebiete | Department für Nutzpflanzen- und Tierwissenschaften | Integratives Fischereimanagement | Publikationen | Selective exploitation of spatially structured coastal fish populations by recreational anglers may lead to evolutionary downsizing of adults

Selective exploitation of spatially structured coastal fish populations by recreational anglers may lead to evolutionary downsizing of adults

When gene flow is limited and harvesting is intensive, fishing may alter life histories and favour trait combinations that collectively reduce adult body size. However, empirical evidence of downsizing of adults in small-bodied coastal fish is still scarce, in part due to the lack of knowledge about the selective nature of certain fishing gears, such as recreational angling, and the difficulties in estimating the dispersion of pelagic early-life stages. Using the small-bodied sedentary coastal marine fish Serranus scribaas a model, we first empirically show that recreational angling selects for life-history traits (i.e. increased reproductive investment) that promote downsizing of adults. Second, using Lagrangian particle dispersion modelling, we show how local hydrodynamics generates patterns of limited connectivity and the emergence of meta-population structure. Finally, the life histories presently observed in isolated populations of S. scribathat experienced differential fishing pressure matched expectations of fishing-induced downsizing of adult body size. Body size is an important trait in aquatic food webs, and evolutionary downsizing might have unforeseen consequences. From a precautionary perspective, maintaining the metapopulation structure and the full range of genotypes inherent in them is important, even for smallbodied, geographically restricted fish species that are mainly harvested by recreational anglers.