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.




A future challenge is to manage and protect natural resources while meeting the socioeconomic needs of a rapidly increasing human world population. This challenge is perhaps particularly evident when it comes to aquatic organisms for which exploitation rates have increased dramatically in recent decades. High exploitation rates pose threats to biological diversity at several levels, including diversity at the gene level. For example, high fishing pressures may reduce population sizes to levels where inbreeding and loss of genetic variability become serious problems. Fishing in areas which are used by several populations of the same species (mixed stock fisheries) may result in overexploitation or even extinction of genetically unique populations. Furthermore, the high and selective mortality induced by fishing is likely to cause evolutionary changes in functional traits such as growth rate and maturation age.


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