The study of partner-choice decisions of individual fish is a good way in which insights into patterns of school structure or territorial assemblages can be gained. Most initial work has focused on the recognition abilities and association patterns of fish in situations where the potential for adaptive costs and benefits is great, such as in the contexts of foraging or antipredator behaviour. However, the benefits of condition-independent recognition and kin recognition may also have profound effects on patterns of movement and dispersal. Information regarding group membership may be especially important in understanding the spatial position of fish in threatened stocks, and may therefore have implications for fisheries management policies. Future work may therefore benefit from an exploration of the ecological contexts in which learned recognition is important in natural streams and rivers.