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The Meek Inherit the Sea February 29, 2008
Fish school
Commercial fishing may be capturing the boldest of the species, leaving only timid fish in the world's oceans.
Industrialized fishing operations worldwide are leaving behind a population of timid fish less able to breed and maintain their habitat, according to a new study by Australian and Canadian researchers.

“Fish with bold personalities are more active in finding food and grow fast, but are quickly removed by commercial fishing,” said Peter Biro from the University of Technology Sydney.

He said that the link between boldness and growth meant that shy, slow-growing fish are the ones being left behind.

The scientists simulated an intensive gillnet fishery, where mesh nets are cast over large areas to catch as many fish as possible, in two experimental lakes stocked with rainbow trout in Canada.

They say they found the survivors of commercial harvesting tended to be meek, less active and carrying fewer eggs.

Photo: © 2008 Franck Steinberg - Fotolia

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