• Open Access

Estimating fisheries-induced selection: traditional gear selectivity research meets fisheries-induced evolution


Anna Kuparinen, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 65, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Tel.: +358 40 731 3120; fax: +358-9-191 57694; e-mail: anna.kuparinen@helsinki.fi


The study of fisheries-induced evolution is a research field which is becoming recognized both as an important and interesting problem in applied evolution, as well as a practical management problem in fisheries. Much of the research in fisheries-induced evolution has focussed on quantifying and proving that an evolutionary response has taken place, but less effort has been invested on the actual processes and traits underlying capture of a fish by a fishing gear. This knowledge is not only needed to understand possible phenotypic selection associated to fishing but also to help to device sustainable fisheries and management strategies. Here, we draw attention to the existing knowledge about selectivity of fishing gears and outline the ways in which this information could be utilized in the context of fisheries-induced evolution. To these ends, we will introduce a mathematical framework commonly applied to quantify fishing gear selectivity, illustrate the link between gear selectivity and the change in the distribution of phenotypes induced by fishing, review what is known about selectivity of commonly used fishing gears, and discuss how this knowledge could be applied to improve attempts to predict evolutionary impacts of fishing.