24 June 2005

Big fish important in the gene pool - study

Anglers chasing big fish and leaving the small fry might be doing far more harm than good, according to marine scientists in the United States.

Charles Birkeland at the University of Hawaii and Paul Dayton at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California have discovered that big fish are vital to maintaining populations, and taking them does crucial damage.

Not only does the fertility of big females increase dramatically compared with small fish, but the offspring of big fish tend to grow bigger and faster than those of little ones, New Scientist magazine reported.

This means that taking the big fish weakens the gene pool by effectively favouring the fish that grow more slowly and stay small.

Source: www.iol.co.za


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