REEF: Productivity and Resilience Enhancement of Exploited Fish stocks: an experimental approach

About the project

Worldwide, many fish stocks are in a state of serious decline or collapse. Additionally, collapsed stocks often fail to recover, even when the fishing effort is relaxed. This chronic overexploitation incurs severe economic costs and have ramifications to ecosystem function and services.

We argue that many of these problems arise because of an opposition between fisheries-induced selection, that targets fast-growing and large-sized individuals through the use of minimum-size limits, and natural selection that favours the same individuals.

Instead, fisheries should act in concert with natural selection by selectively harvesting small-sized individuals through the use of maximum size limits. We predict that such a reverse-fishing regime should increase both the productivity and resilience of exploited stocks.

To test this general hypothesis, REEF proposes to use an experimental approach to specifically explore

(i) how the classical vs. reversed fishing regimes drive changes in phenotypes and in the underlying molecular architectures that support trait evolvability,

(ii) quantify whether and how phenotypic and molecular evolution caused by fishing have cascading effects into the food-web down to algae and, from there, on water quality
and the carbon biological pump,

(iii) whether and how fishing may change natural selection acting on exploited fish stocks.

If successful, reverse fishing regulations will ultimately foster progress towards a restoration of marine ecosystems to their historical state, when top predators were larger and more
numerous than today.


This Project is funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) (MARINFORSK)

RCN Project Number: 255601  (Project data bank at RCN)

UiO Project Number: 190709


01.09.2016 - 28.02.2021



  • Alix Bouffet-Halle; Jacques Mériguet; David Carmignac; Simon Agostini; Alexis Millot; Samuel Perret; Eric Motard; Beatriz Decenciere & Eric Edeline (2021). Density‐dependent natural selection mediates harvest‐induced trait changes. Ecology Letters.  ISSN 1461-023X.  s 1- 10
  • Charlotte Evangelista; Beatriz Diaz Pauli; Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad & Eric Edeline (2020). Stoichiometric consequences of size-selective mortality: An experimental test using the Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). Science of the Total Environment.  ISSN 0048-9697.  724, s 1- 8
  • Beatriz Diaz Pauli; Eric Edeline & Charlotte Evangelista (2020). Ecosystem consequences of multi-trait response to environmental changes in Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes. Conservation Physiology.  ISSN 2051-1434.  8, s 1- 13
  • Charlotte Evangelista; Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad; Beatriz Diaz Pauli & Eric Edeline (2020). Density-dependent consequences of size-selective induced life-history changes to population fitness in medaka (Oryzias latipes). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.  ISSN 0706-652X.  77, s 1741- 1748
  • Eric Edeline & Nicolas Loeuille (2020). Size-dependent eco-evolutionary feedbacks in fisheries. BioRxiv.  ISSN 0362-4331.  s 1- 36
  • Clémentine Renneville; Alexis Millot; Simon Agostini; David Carmignac; Gersende Marie Aimee Maugars; Sylvie Dufour; Arnaud Le Rouzic & Eric Edeline (2020). Unidirectional response to bidirectional selection on body size. I. Phenotypic, life‐history, and endocrine responses. Ecology and Evolution.  ISSN 2045-7758.  10, s 10571- 10592
  • Arnaud Le Rouzic; Clémentine Renneville; Alexis Millot; Simon Agostini; David Carmignac & Eric Edeline (2020). Unidirectional response to bidirectional selection on body size. II. Quantitative genetics. Ecology and Evolution.  ISSN 2045-7758.  10, s 11453- 11466
  • Beatriz Diaz Pauli; Sarah Garric; Charlotte Evangelista; Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad & Eric Edeline (2019). Selection for small body size favours contrasting sex-specific life histories, boldness and feeding in medaka, Oryzias latipes. BMC Evolutionary Biology.  ISSN 1471-2148.  19

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Published Feb. 4, 2021 2:55 PM - Last modified Feb. 10, 2021 10:48 AM