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



  • Bouffet-Halle, Alix; Mériguet, Jacques; Carmignac, David; Agostini, Simon; Millot, Alexis & Perret, Samuel [Show all 9 contributors for this article] (2021). Density‐dependent natural selection mediates harvest‐induced trait changes. Ecology Letters. ISSN 1461-023X. p. 1–10.
  • Evangelista, Charlotte; Dupeu, Julia; Sandkjenn, Joakim; Pauli, Beatriz Diaz; Herland, Anders & Meriguet, Jacques [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2021). Ecological ramifications of adaptation to size-selective mortality. Royal Society Open Science. ISSN 2054-5703. 8(10). doi: 10.1098/rsos.210842. Full text in Research Archive
  • Royan, Muhammad Rahmad; Siddique, Khadeeja; Csucs, Gergely; Puchades, Maja ; Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Rasoul & Bjaalie, Jan G. [Show all 9 contributors for this article] (2021). 3D Atlas of the Pituitary Gland of the Model Fish Medaka (Oryzias latipes). Frontiers in Endocrinology. ISSN 1664-2392. 12. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.719843. Full text in Research Archive
  • Le Rouzic, Arnaud; Renneville, Clémentine; Millot, Alexis; Agostini, Simon; Carmignac, David & Edeline, Eric (2020). Unidirectional response to bidirectional selection on body size. II. Quantitative genetics. Ecology and Evolution. ISSN 2045-7758. 10(20), p. 11453–11466. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6783.
  • Diaz Pauli, Beatriz; Edeline, Eric & Evangelista, Charlotte (2020). Ecosystem consequences of multi-trait response to environmental changes in Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes. Conservation Physiology. ISSN 2051-1434. 8(1), p. 1–13. doi: 10.1093/conphys/coaa011. Full text in Research Archive
  • Evangelista, Charlotte; Vøllestad, Leif Asbjørn; Diaz Pauli, Beatriz & Edeline, Eric (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(10), p. 1741–1748. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-2019-0406. Full text in Research Archive
  • Evangelista, Charlotte; Diaz Pauli, Beatriz; Vøllestad, Leif Asbjørn & Edeline, Eric (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(138193), p. 1–8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138193. Full text in Research Archive
  • Renneville, Clémentine; Millot, Alexis; Agostini, Simon; Carmignac, David; Maugars, Gersende Marie Aimee & Dufour, Sylvie [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2020). Unidirectional response to bidirectional selection on body size. I. Phenotypic, life‐history, and endocrine responses. Ecology and Evolution. ISSN 2045-7758. 10(19), p. 10571–10592. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6713.
  • Edeline, Eric & Loeuille, Nicolas (2020). Size-dependent eco-evolutionary feedbacks in fisheries. BioRxiv. ISSN 0362-4331. p. 1–36.
  • Diaz Pauli, Beatriz; Garric, Sarah; Evangelista, Charlotte; Vøllestad, Leif Asbjørn & Edeline, Eric (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(1). doi: 10.1186/s12862-019-1460-x. Full text in Research Archive

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