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January 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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“Naive” Fish Are Easy Targets

from the January, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Big fish that have grown up in marine reserves don't know enough to avoid divers with spear guns waiting outside the borders. An Australian research team working in the Philippines has found that there is an unexpected windfall awaiting divers who obey the rules and respect reserve boundaries - just wait outside them for big, innocent fish wandering out of the reserve.

"Educated fish normally turn tail and flee when a diver armed with a speargun approaches within firing range of them," says researcher Fraser Januchowski- Hartley. "But in our studies of marine reserves in the Philippines, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, where spearfishing remains a major way of harvesting table fish, we discovered that reserve-reared fish were much less wary and allowed people to get much closer. The fish are literally more catchable."...


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