Fish Are "Evolving" to Avoid Getting Caught

By Gary Cutlack on at

Clever fish could be responding to the threat of getting yanked out of the sea and cut up into convenient finger-shaped portions by evolving, with scientists finding evidence that some fish are escaping the trawlers by swimming faster -- leading to the possible emergence of newer, faster swimming stocks.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow claim fish may be getting faster to evade the trawler nets, which tend to run at a steady pace around the top swimming speed of the targeted fish to bag their hauls. Some fish can swim faster or escape capture by swimming around the side of the mouth of the net, and it's these better/faster/cleverer fish that are escaping capture and a quick end in Captain Birdseye's skinning and portioning machine, leading to the potential emergence of superfish offspring.

Dr Shaun Killen from the university said: "...our study provides the first evidence that better-swimming fish, and those with higher metabolic rates, are more likely to escape capture. Over time, the selective removal of poor-swimming fish could alter the fundamental physiological make-up of descendant populations that avoid fisheries capture."

If they're so clever perhaps they ought to evolve cute little kitten eyes and fur, then we wouldn't be so blase about smacking them in the head and ripping their guts out while their bodies still twitch. [BBC]

Image credit: Fishing boat from Shutterstock