From: University of Washington
Published November 30, 2017 09:35 AM

When to fish: Timing matters for fish that migrate to reproduce

It’s no secret that human activities affect fish, particularly those that must migrate to reproduce. Years of building dams and polluting rivers in some regions have left fish such as salmon struggling to return to their home streams and give birth to the next generation.

A new University of Washington study points to yet another human factor that is hampering the ability of fish to reproduce: the timing of our fishing seasons. The paper, appearing online last month in the journal Fish and Fisheries, is one of only a handful of studies that considers how the timing of fishing efforts might disproportionately target certain fish and change the life history patterns of entire populations.

“The more you think about it, the more pervasive you realize it is,” said senior author Tom Quinn, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. “The real purpose of this essay is to raise the profile of this neglected issue.”

The authors build the case for more attention on timing by outlining examples of how fishing seasons have altered a population’s makeup — specifically, its diversity and productivity.

 

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