Dataset: Consequences of trait-selective fisheries on population reproductive potential: an experimental approach
Fish vulnerability to fishing depends on a range of life-history, behavioural and physiological traits which are usually correlated with reproductive success. The present study aims to test if differences in individual catchability (vulnerability-to-angling) may be indirectly affecting the reproductive potential at the population level. Vulnerability-to-angling were experimentally assessed on adult Serranus scriba, a species targeted by recreational fisheries, classifying fish into three categories: high, medium and low vulnerability. Then, fish were grouped in tanks of 13 individuals (each category per duplicate), and monitored throughout a full spawning season to assess differences in seasonal patterns of spawning, total egg production, egg viability and egg quality. Seasonal patterns, egg production and viability did not differed between vulnerability groups. However, low vulnerability fish produced eggs with bigger egg yolk compared to high vulnerability fish but only towards the end of the spawning season. This difference may suggest that in unexploited populations, low vulnerability fish may contribute little to year class strength in typical years but might act as a buffer if a disturbance affects reproductive success early in the season. Moreover, these results support the hypothesis that harvested populations may compensate for the harvested biomass by investing more energy per fish in reproduction.