eCite Digital Repository

Intrinsic vulnerability in the global fish catch


Cheung, WWL and Watson, RA and Morato, T and Pitcher, TJ and Pauly, D, Intrinsic vulnerability in the global fish catch, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 333 pp. 1-12. ISSN 0171-8630 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps333001


We have identified the marine fish taxa that are most vulnerable to exploitation, by compiling an index of intrinsic vulnerability based on life history traits. Since 1950, the global fish catch has been increasingly dominated by species with low intrinsic vulnerability, indicated by a decline in mean vulnerability of the taxa in the catches. This decline is strongest in catches of coral reef fishes, probably as a result of overexploitation of the more vulnerable species. The change is less apparent in estuaries, where fish communities are more transient. The opposite is observed at seamounts, where more vulnerable species have become exploited and serially depleted in recent years. Rates of change in the mean vulnerability index in the catches from different areas are negatively correlated with the number of threatened fishes on the IUCN Red List. Particularly, catches from the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions are characterized by a high abundance of threatened fishes and by strong declines in the mean vulnerability index. Our findings suggest that fishing largely alters the community structure of coral reef fishes, which may detrimentally affect the ecosystem. Attention should also be given to deep water demersal and benthopelagic fish assemblages, especially those around seamounts, which are intrinsically vulnerable to fishing. The index of intrinsic vulnerability thus provides a novel tool for fisheries management and conservation. © Inter-Research 2007.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Coral reef; Estuary; Fishing; Intrinsic vulnerability; Marine conservation; Seamount; catch composition; conservation; coral reef; endangered species; exploitation; fish; fishery management; fishing; global perspective; life history trait; Colombia
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:84050
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:134
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-04-16
Last Modified:2013-04-16

Repository Staff Only: item control page