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A Problem Structuring Method for Ecosystem-Based Management: The DPSIR Modelling Process

Citation Information: European Journal of Operational Research, Available online 8 December 2012

Authors: Amanda Gregory, Jonathan Atkins, Daryl Burdon, Mike Elliott

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to learn from Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory to inform the development of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs) both in general and in the specific context of marine management. The focus on marine management is important because it is concerned with a CAS (formed through the interconnection between natural systems, designed systems and social systems) which exemplifies their particularly ‘wicked’ nature. Recognition of this compels us to take seriously the need to develop tools for knowledge elicitation and structuring which meet the demands of CAS. In marine management, chief among those tools is the DPSIR (Drivers – Pressures – State Changes – Impacts – Responses) model and, although widely applied, the extent to which it is appropriate for dealing with the demands of a CAS is questionable. Such questioning is particularly pertinent in the context of the marine environment where there is a need to not only recognise a broad range of stakeholders (a question of boundary critique) but also to manage competing knowledge (economic, local and scientific) and value claims. Hence this paper emphasises how a CAS perspective might add impetus to the development of a critical perspective on DPSIR and PSM theory and practice to promote a more systemic view of decision-making and policy development.

Investigating the Marine Protected Areas most at risk of current-driven pollution in the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, using a Lagrangian transport model

Citation Information: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 6 December 2012

Authors: Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 6 December 2012

Abstract: The possibility of current-driven propagation of contaminants released along a major fairway polluting the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, is examined using a 3D circulation model, a Lagrangian transport model and statistics. Not surprisingly, the number of hits to the MPA decreases almost linearly with its distance from the fairway. In addition, the potential pollution released during a ship accident with the pollutants carried by currents may affect MPAs at very large distances. Typically, a fairway section approximately 125 km long (covering about 1/3 of the approximate 400-km-long gulf) may serve as a source of pollution for each MPA. The largest MPA (in the Eastern Gulf of Finland) may receive pollution from an approximately 210-km-long section (covering about 1/2 of the entire length of the gulf). This information may be useful in assisting maritime management.

Factors affecting support for Puget Sound Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: Fisheries Research, Available online 6 December 2012

Authors: Kristin R. Hoelting, Clara H. Hard, Patrick Christie, Richard B. Pollnac

Abstract: Previous studies suggest that collaboration between management agencies and the public has the potential to increase the legitimacy of Marine Protected Area (MPA) establishment processes, thereby leading to increased support for MPAs. A social survey was conducted in communities near seven Puget Sound MPAs to examine relationships between indicators of participatory democracy and process legitimacy, as well as respondents’ stated support for MPAs. Results show that, in addition to the effect of process variables, significant predictors of support include environmental beliefs, perceptions of ecological success of MPAs, and demographic variables. Taken together, these variables explain almost 70% of the variance in stated MPA support.

Coral assemblages in Tonga: spatial patterns, replenishment capacities, and implications for conservation strategies

Citation Information: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10661-012-2982-5

Authors: Mehdi Adjeroud, Marine J. Briand, Mohsen Kayal, Pascal Dumas

Abstract: Coral reefs in Tonga have been confronted by multiple threats of various origins, including large-scale disturbances and human-induced stressors. These reef communities have been poorly studied, and efficient conservation actions are urgently needed. The aim of this study was to: (1) examine the spatial distribution of coral assemblages in the lagoon of Tongatapu; (2) determine the degree to which spatial heterogeneity of adult corals is influenced by recruitment processes; and (3) examine the implications of these results in terms of conservation actions. We recorded a total of 37 adult and 28 juvenile coral genera, a mean density of 11.6 adult and 5.5 juvenile colonies m−2, and a dominance of Montipora, Acropora, and Porites. For seven of the 10 dominant genera, spatial patterns of adults were linked to the short-term recruitment pattern history. Despite a reduced diversity and abundance of adult corals in some areas, the lagoon of Tongatapu retains the potential for replenishment through recruitment of young corals. Consequently, we suggest that conservation actions should focus on reducing factors causing coral mortality and maintain suitable conditions for the establishment and growth of juvenile corals, thus increasing the probability that they will reach maturity and participate to the maintenance of local populations. Rather than establishing a large marine protected area, which will almost certainly suffer from a lack of control and poor enforcement, alternative conservation measures could be successfully implemented through the establishment of several small village-based marine reserves, as has been undertaken in other South Pacific islands with promising results.

A thematic cost-benefit analysis of a marine protected area

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 114, 15 January 2013, Pages 476–485

Authors: Siân E. Rees, Martin J. Attrill, Melanie C. Austen, Stephen C. Mangi, Lynda D. Rodwell

Abstract: The implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is ultimately a social endeavour to sustain or improve human well-being via the conservation of marine ecosystems. The degree to which ecological gains are realised can depend upon how economic, ecological and social costs (negative impacts) and benefits (positive impacts) are included in the designation and management process. Without the support of key stakeholder groups whose user rights have been affected by the creation of an MPA, human impacts cannot be reduced. This study analyses a three year dataset to understand the themes associated with the economic, environmental and social costs and benefits of an MPA in Lyme Bay, United Kingdom (UK) following its establishment in 2008. Methodologically, the paper presents an ecosystem based management framework for analysing costs and benefits. Two hundred and forty one individuals were interviewed via questionnaire between 2008 and 2010 to determine perceptions and the level of support towards the MPA. Results reveal that despite the contentious manner in which this MPA was established, support for the MPA is strong amongst the majority of stakeholder groups. The level of support and the reasons given for support vary between stakeholder groups. Overall, the stakeholders perceive the social, economic and environmental benefits of the MPA to outweigh the perceived costs. There have been clear social costs of the MPA policy and these have been borne by mobile and static gear fishermen and charter boat operators. Local support for this MPA bodes well for the development of a network of MPAs around the UK coast under the United Kingdom Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. However, this initial optimism is at risk if stakeholder expectation is not managed and the management vacuum is not filled.

Variability and phasing of tidal current energy around the United Kingdom

Citation Information: Renewable Energy; Volume 51, March 2013, Pages 343–357

Authors: A.S. Iyer, S.J. Couch, G.P. Harrison, A.R. Wallace

Abstract: Tidal energy has the potential to play a key role in meeting renewable energy targets set out by the United Kingdom (UK) government and devolved administrations. Attention has been drawn to this resource as a number of locations with high tidal current velocity have recently been leased by the Crown Estate for commercial development. Although tides are periodic and predictable, there are times when the current velocity is too low for any power generation. However, it has been proposed that a portfolio of diverse sites located around the UK will deliver a firm aggregate output due to the relative phasing of the tidal signal around the coast. This paper analyses whether firm tidal power is feasible with ‘first generation’ tidal current generators suitable for relatively shallow water, high velocity sites. This is achieved through development of realistic scenarios of tidal current energy industry development. These scenarios incorporate constraints relating to assessment of the economically harvestable resource, tidal technology potential and the practical limits to energy extraction dictated by environmental response and spatial availability of resource. The final scenario is capable of generating 17 TWh/year with an effective installed capacity of 7.8 GW, at an average capacity factor of 29.9% from 7 major locations. However, it is concluded that there is insufficient diversity between sites suitable for first generation tidal current energy schemes for a portfolio approach to deliver firm power generation.

Adapting governance for coastal change in Portugal

Citation Information: Land Use Policy; Volume 31, March 2013, Pages 314–325; Themed Issue 1-Guest Editor Romy GreinerThemed Issue 2- Guest Editor Davide Viaggi

Authors: Luísa Schmidt, Pedro Prista, Tiago Saraiva, Tim O’Riordan, Carla Gomes

Abstract: In many countries, but particularly in Portugal, coastal conditions are already endangered by flooding and erosion, both likely to increase as a result of climate change. This daunting prospect raises critical questions of sustainability; social justice; genuine public participation and social learning; effective financing for long term social and economic benefit; connected polycentric governance; and the appropriate use of scientific knowledge bonded to public and political trust. While the development of most shorelines is nominally shaped by public administrative action, rapid coastal migration and excessive economic concentration have turned many threatened coastlines into a stage for settlement hazard and institutional chaos. In Portugal, despite clear evidence of increasing flooding and erosion, appropriate management responses are proving inadequate, both in the turbulent planning framework and in the scarce financial provision for future safeguard. The only plausible alternatives seem to lie in the processes of progressive adaptive governance, involving the trust and full participation of local communities; strongly supported scientific assessments of threat and safety; and fresh approaches to finding suitable funding sources. However, as evident from interviews with key actors in coastal planning in Portugal, the lack of policy clarity and political will, the weak science and poor coordination of stakeholders, combined with the particular regenerating coastal cultures of these communities, make any organised adaptive approaches highly problematic. This consequently places more emphasis on the rich cultural meanings of coastal occupation; of national identity in a time of economic crisis; of social justice in a period of reduced coastal maintenance funding; and of a more measured and sequential approach to an adaptive coastal governance.

Monies for Marine Conservation: A White Paper Examining New Funding Sources for Oceans and Coasts

Citation Information: The Nature Conservancy, 2012

Authors: Michelle Lennox, Kameran Onley, Jena Carter, Kacky Andrews

Abstract: Federal financing for ocean and coastal conservation is a landscape composed of dozens of government agencies, grant programs with differing objectives, and declining funding. All too often, funds are piecemeal and provided for a short duration, making it a challenge to achieve large conservation visions and results at a meaningful scale.

In 2010, The Nature Conservancy launched a project investigating new and sustainable federal funding mechanisms to support marine conservation, restoration, and planning in the United States. The Conservancy began its process with a thorough literature search and developed an inventory of funding options. The advantages and disadvantages of each funding source were analyzed and criteria developed to narrow the revenue sources to those that may best contribute to conservation outcomes. Throughout the project, expert opinion was solicited and roundtables were held to gather feedback. This white paper presents the research and assessment results.

Aspiration and reality in participatory management of marine protected areas: A case study in Negros Occidental, Philippines

Citation Information: ISEE 2012 Conference Proceedings

Author: Philipp Gorris

Abstract: In the face of increasing depletion of fisheries resources and degrading marine ecosystems, marine protected areas (MPAs) are becoming more and more important around the globe as they are perceived to provide an institutional solution for sustainable marine resource management and conservation objectives. Since the 1990s, the concept of co-management for natural resource management has spread all over the world. For MPAs, it is commonly believed that participatory management in terms of comanagement enhances the success of MPAs since it improves the effectiveness of conservation efforts for the benefit of nature and local populations. The co-management concept strives for creating a permanent forum in which a common strategy is initiated, negotiated and exercised in a collaborative way. It explicitly emphasizes the inclusion of wide ranging stakeholder interests and the attempt to balance those. The ideal state of co-management can be seen in a management situation where government institutions and non-government stakeholders are equal partners. This case study examines how a co-management arrangement for MPA is implemented in order to shed light on the operation of a particular co-management arrangement for an MPA. The analysis includes 2 aspects: the formally granted rights of local fishermen in MPA management; and their actual influence on decision-making in the management body. It is found that despite the legal stipulation of an equitable co-management arrangement including government and non-government stakeholders, actual decision-making is dominated by a local leader. This discrepancy between legally stipulated and actual influence of nongovernment stakeholders can be attributed to structural flaws within the management body in conjunction with local hierarchies and shortfalls regarding non-government stakeholder organization.

Marine Protected Areas: Legality and Traditional Populations

Citation Information: ISEE 2012 Proceedings

Authors: Micheline Flôres Porto; Sofia Campiolo

Abstract: The global trend for the conservation of marine biodiversity consists in the establishment of Marine protected areas. In Brazil, the Federal Constitution in its art. 225, § 1, III, imposed the responsibility of creating protected areas by the public authorities, with the purpose of protecting biodiversity. Law No. 9.985/00, regulating the matter, created a National System of Conservation Units (SNUC), not establishing differences between the Conservation Units with regard to the protected ecosystem, but as to the purpose that is intended to be achieved, and it can categorize it in conservation unit that can be of full protection or of sustainable use. In the marine ecosystem, the Conservation Units of Sustainable Use, mainly the Marine Extractive Reserves (Marines RESEX) are outnumbered and growing, because, in theory, they can combine the marine ecosystem protection and the maintenance of the activities of the traditional communities. Extractive reserves, initially created for the purpose of enabling the extraction activity by rubber tree tappers in the Amazon, they came to be used analogically for the coastal and marine ecosystem by promoting the exploitation by traditional fishermen of marine resources. The big question that this article seeks to address, using the bibliographical and documentary research, consists in the analysis of the compatibility of the establishment of the Marine Extractive Reserve with the Federal Constitution of Brazil, in the light of the rights of the traditional populations.

Ecosystem-based management in the Wadden Sea: Principles for the governance of knowledge

Citation Information: Journal of Sea Research, Available online 5 December 2012

Authors: Diana Giebels, Arwin van Buuren, Jurian Edelenbos

Abstract: The governance of the Wadden Sea has to contend with a complex interplay of social and ecological systems. Social systems tend to be characterized by pluralism of – often conflicting – norms and values, and ecological systems are characterized by high complexity and natural and human-induced variability, leading to unpredictable and nonlinear behavior. This highly volatile situation challenges traditional forms of management as well as traditional ways of organizing knowledge for decision-making processes. Ecosystem-based management approaches have been developed to find more effective, holistic, and evidence-based strategies to deal with the challenges of complex socio-ecological systems. They also require another way of dealing with (scientific) knowledge, the way it is produced and applied. In this paper, from the perspective of ecosystem-based management, we define the specific principles that apply to the way knowledge is mobilized and applied within decision-making processes. We illuminate these principles by examining three empirical cases of ecosystem-based management within, or related to, the Wadden Sea area. Finally, we reflect upon our findings and elaborate on the extent to which our theoretical framework is capable of describing and assessing the interaction between knowledge and decision making within ecosystem-based management approaches.

Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment

Citation Information: Parris, A., P. Bromirski, V. Burkett, D. Cayan, M. Culver, J. Hall, R. Horton, K. Knuuti, R. Moss, J. Obeysekera, A. Sallenger, and J. Weiss. 2012. Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the US National Climate Assessment. NOAA Tech Memo OAR CPO-1. 37 pp.

Description: Global sea level rise (SLR) has been a persistent trend for decades. It is expected to continue beyond the end of this century, which will cause significant impacts in the United States (US). Over eight million people live in areas at risk to coastal flooding, and many of the nation’s assets related to military readiness, energy, commerce, and ecosystems are already located at or near the ocean. 

Past trends provide valuable evidence in preparing for future environmental change but, by themselves, are insufficient for assessing the risks associated with an uncertain future. For example, a number of recent studies project an increase in the rate and magnitude of global SLR. The US Congress recognizes the need to consider future trends in the Global Change Research Act (USGCRA), which calls for a National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years. This report provides a synthesis of the scientific literature on global SLR at the request of a federal advisory committee charged with developing the next NCA. This report also provides a set of four global mean SLR scenarios to describe future conditions for the purpose of assessing potential vulnerabilities and impacts.

A wide range of estimates for future global mean SLR are scattered throughout the scientific literature and other high profile assessments, such as previous reports of the NCA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Aside from this report, there is currently no coordinated, interagency effort in the US to identify agreed upon global mean SLR estimates for the purpose of coastal planning, policy, and management. This is an important gap because identifying global mean SLR estimates is a critical step in assessing coastal impacts and vulnerabilities. At present, coastal managers are left to identify global SLR estimates through their own interpretation of the scientific literature or the advice of experts on an ad-hoc basis. Yet, for a great majority of the US coastline, relative sea level (RSL)1 has been rising over the past 60 years, consistent with the global trend.

Offshore Aquaculture Regulation Under the Clean Water Act

Citation Information: Harvard Law School Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, Environmental Law Institute, and The Ocean Foundation, Offshore Aquaculture Regulation Under the Clean Water Act, (December 2012).

Description: The objective of the CWA “is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” To achieve this goal, the Clean Water Act (CWA) makes unlawful “any discharge of any pollutant” without a permit and confers broad authority on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect water quality by regulating discharges of pollutants into the nation’s waters. The goals and framework set forth by the CWA thus lay an adequate foundation for controlling the water quality impacts of aquaculture. While offshore aquaculture is still a nascent industry, EPA can—and should—develop appropriate tools to establish adequate oversight of these facilities in federal ocean waters (“ocean”). Specifically, we recommend that EPA:

  1. ensure that all offshore facilities that discharge into the ocean—and particularly facilities using novel or untested technologies—are considered point sources and must obtain a discharge permit;
  2. improve the standards for offshore aquaculture facility permits to set numeric limits for all types of discharges, including escapes of cultivated fish; and
  3. identify data needs and develop requirements for monitoring and reporting for all facilities in the ocean, regardless of the facility’s size or output, to allow determination of whether a proposed facility may cause undue degradation of the ocean.

Integrating pelagic and coastal MPAs into large-scale ecosystem-wide management

Citation Information: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems; 6 Dec 2012

DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2314

Authors: P. Guidetti, G. Notarbartolo-Di-Sciara, T. Agardy

Abstract:

  1. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have gained increasing popularity worldwide as tools for biodiversity conservation and management of human uses. This rise in popularity has been accompanied by an increasing body of scientific papers and books on MPA design and management, the vast majority of which are almost completely focused on coastal or insular MPAs.
  2. A small number of MPAs have also been established in the pelagic domain, however, these pelagic sites have been considered in isolation from coastal/insular MPAs, even when the sites are adjacent or nearby. Pelagic and coastal ecosystems are not at all isolated from each other, but interconnected both physically via the flow of water, and biologically, via the movement of organisms.
  3. In order to maximize the effectiveness of MPAs, it is suggested that spatial management planning encompass large areas that span both coastal and pelagic domains. This requires integrated, large-scale spatial management, which may extend across borders and thus require international cooperation.

Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook

Citation Information: Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook – Apia, Samoa: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), 2012

ISBN: 978-982-04-0466-3

Description: Using the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Responses framework for State of the Environment reporting, this Pacific Environment and Climate Change Outlook report aims to summarise the current state of the natural environment within the Pacific Region, analyse and where possible quantify the pressures placed on the environment, and investigate current responses to environmental challenges. The report covers the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) of: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The term environment to the peoples of the PICTs has much broader connotations than just ‘nature’. The natural environment is an integral part of their culture, tradition, history and way of life.

Monitoring the state of, and changes in, the natural environment presents significant challenges within PICTs ranging from data collection issues (data collection and data consistency), data management and dissemination, data analysis and interpretation, and the use of data to inform and direct policy responses. Future PECCO reports will build on the works to date (by this report and others) to establish a consistent monitoring evaluation and reporting framework to guide environmental management decisions into the future.

Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) 2012

Citation Information: Keener, V. W., Marra, J. J., Finucane, M. L., Spooner, D., & Smith, M. H. (Eds.). (2012). Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts. Report for The 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Description: Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts is a report developed by the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about climate change indicators, impacts, and adaptive capacity of the Hawaiian archipelago and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI). The PIRCA is a collaborative effort engaging federal, state, and local government agencies, non-government organizations, academia, businesses, and community groups to inform and prioritize their activities in the face of a changing climate.

The immediate focus has been on bringing together almost 100 scientific experts and practitioners to generate an integrated report to provide a regional contribution to the National Climate Assessment (NCA), which is conducted under the United States Global Change Research Act of 1990. The PIRCA report examines the adaptive capacity of Pacific Island communities regarding climate change effects on freshwater availability and quality; regional and community economies; urbanization, transportation, and infrastructure vulnerabilities; ecosystem services; ocean resource sustainability and coastal zone management; and cultural resources.

The initial PIRCA activities were conducted August 2011 through February 2012 and included multiple dialogues and three workshops to facilitate sharing, analyzing, and reporting on scientific consensus, knowledge gaps, sectoral needs, and adaptive capacity for addressing the changing climate. The material presented in this report is based largely on published research. The report was reviewed and approved by the PIRCA Steering Committee, and workshop participants were invited to comment on the draft report. Several reviewers independent of the PIRCA process also provided comments.

Fishing industry borrows from natural capital at high shadow interest rates

Citation Information: Ecological Economics; Volume 82, October 2012, Pages 45–52

Authors: Martin F. Quaas, Rainer Froese, Helmut Herwartz, Till Requate, Jörn O. Schmidt, Rüdiger Voss

Abstract: Fish stocks can be considered as natural capital stocks providing harvestable fish. Fishing at low stock sizes means borrowing from the natural asset. While fishing a particular quantity generates immediate profits and income, an interest rate has to be paid in terms of foregone future fishing income, as the fish stock's reproductive capacity remains low and fishing costs stay high. In this paper we propose to apply the concept of shadow interest rate to quantify the degree of overfishing. It incorporates the relevant biological and economic information and compares across fish stocks. We calculate the shadow interest rates for 13 major European fish stocks and find these rates to range from 10% to more than 200%. The concept of the shadow interest rate can be used to make the economic consequences of overfishing transparent and to evaluate the profitability of short-term catch reductions as investments in natural capital stocks.

Bottom trawling resuspends sediment and releases bioavailable contaminants in polluted fjord

Citation Information: Environmental Pollution; Volume 170, November 2012, Pages 232–241

Authors: C. Bradshaw, I. Tjensvoll, M. Sköld, I.J. Allan, J. Molvaer, J. Magnusson, K. Naes, H.C. Nilsson

Abstract: Sediments are sinks for contaminants in the world's oceans. At the same time, commercial bottom trawling is estimated to affect around 15 million km2 of the world's seafloor every year. However, few studies have investigated whether this disturbance remobilises sediment-associated contaminants and, if so, whether these are bioavailable to aquatic organisms. This field study in a trawled contaminated Norwegian fjord showed that a single 1.8 km long trawl pass created a 3–5 million m3 sediment plume containing around 9 t contaminated sediment; ie. 200 g dw m−2 trawled, equivalent to c. 10% of the annual gross sedimentation rate. Substantial amounts of PCDD/Fs and non-ortho PCBs were released from the sediments, likely causing a semi-permanent contaminated sediment suspension in the bottom waters. PCDD/Fs from the sediments were also taken up by mussels which, during one month, accumulated them to levels above the EU maximum advised concentration for human consumption.

Recreational fishing selectively captures individuals with the highest fitness potential

Citation Information: PNAS December 3, 2012 201212536; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212536109

Authors: David A. H. Sutter, Cory D. Suski, David P. Philipp, Thomas Klefoth, David H. Wahl, Petra Kersten, Steven J. Cooke, and Robert Arlinghaus

Abstract: Fisheries-induced evolution and its impact on the productivity of exploited fish stocks remains a highly contested research topic in applied fish evolution and fisheries science. Although many quantitative models assume that larger, more fecund fish are preferentially removed by fishing, there is no empirical evidence describing the relationship between vulnerability to capture and individual reproductive fitness in the wild. Using males from two lines of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) selectively bred over three generations for either high (HV) or low (LV) vulnerability to angling as a model system, we show that the trait “vulnerability to angling” positively correlates with aggression, intensity of parental care, and reproductive fitness. The difference in reproductive fitness between HV and LV fish was particularly evident among larger males, which are also the preferred mating partners of females. Our study constitutes experimental evidence that recreational angling selectively captures individuals with the highest potential for reproductive fitness. Our study further suggests that selective removal of the fittest individuals likely occurs in many fisheries that target species engaged in parental care. As a result, depending on the ecological context, angling-induced selection may have negative consequences for recruitment within wild populations of largemouth bass and possibly other exploited species in which behavioral patterns that determine fitness, such as aggression or parental care, also affect their vulnerability to fishing gear.

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