Skip to main content

In the Slot, Please

In the Slot, Please
In the Slot, Please

We can design big fish. Or little ones.No cloning necessary.


I'm referring to changing the genetics of fish growth through a very simple management method, or lack thereof.

This is a man-caused evolution of sorts, a practice that's gotten us in bad, bad trouble, however unintentionally in the commercial fishing world.

Call the problem fish downsizing. Or the solution fish upsizing.

The theory is that if you consistently take the bigger individuals out of a fish population, you will remove more and more of the very fish with the most growth potential and spawning success.

End result: smaller average sizes for good.

Certainly this makes sense intuitively.

And now scientists have carefully demonstrated the size-changing consequences of taking too many big guys.

Researchers started by populating fish tanks with same-size small fish. Later they periodically removed the faster-growing individuals, leaving the smaller ones to carry the genetic baggage.

It took only several generations to stifle the average size overall.

Researchers were especially impressed by how fast the changes happen.

It seems a no-brainer to see that exactly this type of downsizing has occurred for decades now in the industrial-level wipeouts of fish populations worldwide. Witness the swordfish “pups” now being marketed.

Of course, when recreational fishing focuses on the biggest fish of a species it could also contribute to genetic downsizing.

That's when slot limits save the day.

Using slot ranges, all or nearly all of those fish over a certain size (e.g. redfish, 27 inches) may not be kept. Others over a minimum (e.g. redfish, 18 inches) fit in the slot and may come to dinner.

In Florida, snook and seatrout are similarly managed effectively with slot limits.

Some may say managers “are playing God” when they affect animal sizes this way.

We'd say it's more like playing Good Citizen.

Unfortunately, the slot science is difficult at best in the take-by-the-ton commercial arena. But even there certain strategies can lessen the large-fish kills.

The challenge is to be guided by the best of science rather than dollar signs on fish counters.

FS




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

How to Buy and Rig a River Fishing Kayak

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Power or Paddle? Bonafide PWR129

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

It's a Skiff, It's a Kayak: Bonafide SKF117

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Hobie Mirage Lynx to the Next Level

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Hobie Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight Packed with Features

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Extend Your Range in the Salt Marsh

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Florida's Capital Fishing

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 FULLY RIGGED Fishing Machine

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Mounting Forward-Facing Sonar on A Kayak: Mounts, Scanning Applications and More!

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

On The Water with Old Town: Bass Fishing at PRIVATE GEORGIA LAKE

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

DECKED-OUT Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 Complete WALK-THROUGH

Kayak Fishing Fun Senior Editor Thomas Allen is joined by Old Town's Brand Evangelist Ryan Lilly to work some magic in b...
Videos

Dreambuild: Old Town ePDL Gets Rigged to the Hilt

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now