There is increasing evidence that intense fishing pressure is not only depleting fish stocks but also causing evolutionary changes to fish populations. In particular, body size and fecundity in wild fish populations may be altered in response to the high and often size-selective mortality exerted by fisheries. While these effects can have serious consequences for the viability of fish populations, there are also a range of traits not directly related to body size which could also affect susceptibility to capture by fishing gears—and therefore fisheries-induced evolution (FIE)—but which have to date been ignored. For example, overlooked within the context of FIE is the likelihood that variation in physiological traits could make some individuals within species more vulnerable to capture. Specifically, traits related to energy balance (e.g., metabolic rate), swimming performance (e.g., aerobic scope), neuroendocrinology (e.g., stress responsiveness) and sensory physiology (e.g., visual acuity) are especially likely to influence vulnerability to capture through a variety of mechanisms. Selection on these traits could produce major shifts in the physiological traits within populations in response to fishing pressure that are yet to be considered but which could influence population resource requirements, resilience, species’ distributions and responses to environmental change.

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Keywords anthropogenic change, ecophysiology, fishing, harvest-induced selection, metabolic rate
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Journal Evolutionary Applications
Hollins, J. (Jack), Thambithurai, D. (Davide), Koeck, B. (Barbara), Crespel, A. (Amelie), Bailey, D.M. (David M.), Cooke, S.J, … Killen, S.S. (Shaun S.). (2018). A physiological perspective on fisheries-induced evolution. Evolutionary Applications, 11(5), 561–576. doi:10.1111/eva.12597