Whether intensive harvesting alters the behavioral repertoire of exploited fishes is currently unknown, but plausible. We extend a fish life-history model to account for boldness as a personality trait that affects foraging intensity, which affects energy intake and risk from predation and fishing gear. We systematically investigate life-history and behavioral trait evolution along the boldness–timidity axis in response to the full range of common selectivity and exploitation patterns in fisheries. In agreement with previous studies, we find that any type of harvesting selects for fast life histories and that merely elevated, yet unselective, fishing mortality favors boldness. We also find that timid-selective fishing (which can be expected in species targeted by active gear types) selects for increased boldness. By contrast, increased timidity is predicted when fishing targets bolder individuals common to passive gears, whether in combination with selection on size or not. Altered behavior caused by intensive harvesting should be common place in nature, which can have far-reaching ecological, evolutionary, and managerial impacts. Evolution of timidity is expected to strongly erode catchability, which will negatively affect human well-being and influence the reliability of stock assessments that rely on fishery-dependent data.
Evolution of boldness and life history in response to selective harvesting
Andersen, K. H., Marty, L., Arlinghaus, R. (2018). Evolution of boldness and life history in response to selective harvesting. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 75, 271-281
Erschienen in: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 75, 271-281