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Scientists are Protecting Fish From Overfishing by Spying on Their Love Calls

Source: Phys.org/University of Texas at Austin - June 14, 2017 in Featured, Science/Tech

Scientists are Protecting Fish From Overfishing by Spying on Their Love Calls
Photo: Ellmax

About a third of the world’s fish stocks are being overfished, meaning they’re being harvested faster than they can reproduce, and species that spawn seasonally in large groups are especially vulnerable, easy for fishers to locate and plucked from the water often before they’ve seeded the next generation.

A team led by marine scientists from The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have discovered a way to use the incredibly loud, distinctive sounds that  make when they gather to spawn—not to catch them but to protect them. The team developed an inexpensive yet accurate method for estimating how many fish are in a spawning aggregation, based on their mating calls. Accurate data on when and where fish spawn, as well as how many there are, would help fisheries managers design effective management practices and monitor the ongoing health of a fishery.

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