Selective Pressures Impact on Fisheries Management Reference Points

Fisheries management is a diverse field, essentially reliant on ecological reference points as proxies for fisheries stability and sustainability. Reference points are generally based on population dynamics such as maximum sustainable yield (MSY), spawning stock biomass (SSB), fishing mortality (F), and yield-per-recruit relationships among others. Heino et al (2013) defined fisheries-induced evolution (FIE) as a selective mechanism ,which can impact the stock population characteristics and life history traits through the shifting of reference points. Although it has been theorized that fisheries-induced evolution is taking place in various fish stocks, predominantly seen through reduced fish sizes, quantitative evidence for FIE actually occurring in the wild is still unavailable. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that reference points are shifting due to FIE, climate change, or other environmental and ecological factors, and emphasize that reference points must be re-evaluated and adjusted to be current and effective for fisheries management and conservation. – Hannah Tannenbaum

Heino, M. et al. 2013. Can Fisheries-induced Evolution shift Reference Points for Fisheries Management? ICES Journal of Marine Science 70, 707 – 721.

Continue reading