There's Hope For Big Fish After All

As a follow-up to our March 9 story about how scientists believe “trophy hunting” may lead to smaller fish, a recent study suggests that the shrinking of species due to over-harvesting may be temporary, and that fish can recover their larger sizes faster than thought. Wired magazine reports that while there has been an average 20% drop in animal sizes among human-hunted species, “After being left alone for just twelve generations, a population of experimentally stunted fish regained most of their original size — suggesting that the real-world dwarfism produced by continually killing the largest specimens may not be permanent.” Article by Brandon Keim. (Thanks to reader Nicholas Kingston for this link.)

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  • Fortunately, the paradox of trophy hunting creating smaller species already has a perfect solution: catch and release. When you don’t take the larger fish’s genes out of the gene pool, it can continue to pass those genes on.

  • emiliano

    I agree, C & R is one of the solutions to protect fish for next generations letting us to enjoy great fishing in the future

  • Paul Byrley

    About 2 yrs ago, I happened upon a Texas (state, I think) program encouraging people who caught very large bass (>15lbs, I believe) to bring them, alive, to a certain research center to be used to increase or concentrate the gene pool of very large bass in Texas. They had a link to their details for safe transport of the live fish.
    I don’t remember if they talked about the male bass (I think they would be smaller?) or just re-stocking lots and lots of offspring from the large females all over Texas.
    I guess I will go see if there are any updates.