Study on fish life history traits and variation in the Taiwan Strait and its adjacent waters
Large portions of the world's fishery resources are overexploited. Life history traits of fish species are important indicators to reveal different life history strategies and to indicate population responses to fishing pressures. For this study, empirical data on fishing grounds located in the coastal area between Fujian Coast and Taiwan Island were collected. These areas have experienced severe overfishing in the past 30 years, leading to changes in the structure and function of the fish communities. Fifty-one commercial fish species in this fishing ground were selected to study the life history traits. Using the life history traits, all the species were grouped into five different life history strategies by principle component analysis. More than 60% of the species were categorized in Group 5 that was similar to r-strategists. Twenty-five commercial species were selected for further analysis of changes in life history variables, and to discuss the population responses to exploitation. Results showed that most of the species appeared to become smaller size, shorter life, earlier maturation and faster growing under long-term exploitation. The exploitation rate of each species was also calculated to further discuss the impacts of fishing pressures to fish populations. Four species were found with the severest changes on life history traits indicating some of the species might be more susceptible to exploitation. This study on fish life history traits and their long-term variations under fishing pressures could provide important scientific implications for fishery management and conservation.