Although a great deal of effort has been expended to try to understand the consequences of fishing-induced selection by commercial fisheries, relatively little effort has been put into trying to understand the selective effects of recreational angling. We conducted a long-term selection experiment to assess the heritability of vulnerability to angling in largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides. Three successive generations of artificially selected largemouth bass were produced from a single experimental study population. Within each generation, individual adult largemouth bass were identified as having either high or low vulnerability to angling through a series of controlled catch-and-release angling trials. Individuals of each vulnerability group (high and low) were then selected from that population for breeding to produce the next generation. The response to selection for vulnerability to angling increased with each generation; that is, the magnitude of the difference between the high- and low-vulnerability groups of fish increased with each successive generation. Realized heritability was calculated as 0.146 (r2 1/4 0.995), indicating that the vulnerability of largemouth bass to angling is indeed a heritable trait. Our results indicate that recreational angling has the potential to alter the gene pool of wild fish populations, which may indirectly affect population characteristics such as survival, growth rate, and reproductive output as well as directly affecting angling success rates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science