Genetic consequences of fisheries and fisheries management

Report from a multi-disciplinary workshop in Rönne, Bornholm, 25–26 October 2006

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This report summarizes talks, discussions and conclusions from a multi-disciplinary workshop on genetic consequences of fisheries and fisheries management held in Rönne, Bornholm in October 2006. The workshop was intended for fishermen, scientists, decision makers, managers and other stakeholders from the Nordic countries. The main objectives were to improve communication between parties involved in fisheries management present current knowledge regarding genetic consequences of fisheries, and highlight the importance of including genetic/biological data in the management of exploited fish species agree upon recommendations on how genetic considerations could be implemented in management and decision making processes.




Virtually every exploited fish species is subdivided genetically and/or phenotypically. This differentiation is often associated with local environmental conditions (e.g. habitat heterogeneity) and/or historical processes (e.g. deglaciation). The objective of this presentation is to broadly illustrate to managers and decision makers the relevance of recognizing and maintaining such differentiation for viable fisheries. To do so, I critically address several key questions: (i) why is maintaining within-species diversity important for management? (ii) What exactly are we trying to maintain? (iii) How do we go about maintaining it? Lessons learned from historical approaches to recognizing and maintaining diversity within species (e.g. the concept of an evolutionarily significant unit) are used to exemplify important principles to be considered when defining management/ conservation units within fish species at any given spatial scale. I then illustrate how these principles should be considered in practice through a detailed example of a migratory salmonid fish. Lastly, I address the controversial issue of how to prioritize population diversity within species to aid management. Indeed, although the loss of any one population is clearly unwanted, limited resources in the face of increasing human influences may require such prioritization for future management actions.


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