• Open Access

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Mitigating fisheries-induced evolution in lacustrine brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) in southern Quebec, Canada


Kenichi W. Okamoto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095 USA.
Tel.: (310) 206 1464; fax: (310) 206 3987; e-mail: kokamoto@ucla.edu


Size-selective mortality caused by fishing can impose strong selection on harvested fish populations, causing evolution in important life-history traits. Understanding and predicting harvest-induced evolutionary change can help maintain sustainable fisheries. We investigate the evolutionary sustainability of alternative management regimes for lacustrine brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) fisheries in southern Canada and aim to optimize these regimes with respect to the competing objectives of maximizing mean annual yield and minimizing evolutionary change in maturation schedules. Using a stochastic simulation model of brook charr populations consuming a dynamic resource, we investigate how harvesting affects brook charr maturation schedules. We show that when approximately 5% to 15% of the brook charr biomass is harvested, yields are high, and harvest-induced evolutionary changes remain small. Intensive harvesting (at approximately >15% of brook charr biomass) results in high average yields and little evolutionary change only when harvesting is restricted to brook charr larger than the size at 50% maturation probability at the age of 2 years. Otherwise, intensive harvesting lowers average yield and causes evolutionary change in the maturation schedule of brook charr. Our results indicate that intermediate harvesting efforts offer an acceptable compromise between avoiding harvest-induced evolutionary change and securing high average yields.