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Understanding and managing fish populations: keeping the toolbox fit for purpose

Paris, JR and Sherman, KD and Bell, E and Boulenger, C and Delord, C and El-Mahdi, MBM and Fairfield, EA and Griffiths, AM and Gutmann Roberts, C and Hedger, RD and Holman, LE and Hooper, LH and Humphries, NE and Katsiadaki, I and King, RA and Lemopoulos, A and Payne, CJ and Peirson, G and Richter, KK and Taylor, MI and Trueman, CN and Hayden, B and Stevens, JR (2018) Understanding and managing fish populations: keeping the toolbox fit for purpose. Journal of Fish Biology, 92 (3). pp. 727-751. ISSN 0022-1112

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Abstract

© 2018 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles Wild fish populations are currently experiencing unprecedented pressures, which are projected to intensify in the coming decades. Developing a thorough understanding of the influences of both biotic and abiotic factors on fish populations is a salient issue in contemporary fish conservation and management. During the 50th Anniversary Symposium of The Fisheries Society of the British Isles at the University of Exeter, UK, in July 2017, scientists from diverse research backgrounds gathered to discuss key topics under the broad umbrella of ‘Understanding Fish Populations’. Below, the output of one such discussion group is detailed, focusing on tools used to investigate natural fish populations. Five main groups of approaches were identified: tagging and telemetry; molecular tools; survey tools; statistical and modelling tools; tissue analyses. The appraisal covered current challenges and potential solutions for each of these topics. In addition, three key themes were identified as applicable across all tool-based applications. These included data management, public engagement, and fisheries policy and governance. The continued innovation of tools and capacity to integrate interdisciplinary approaches into the future assessment and management of fish populations is highlighted as an important focus for the next 50 years of fisheries research.

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