Study uses fish-shape analysis to pinpoint habitat


Fishermen in Caribbean waters off Honduras. (Photo by International League of Conservation Photographers, iLCP)

Sizing up wild-caught fish may yield more than bragging rights. A study of yellowtail snapper off the Caribbean coast of Honduras concludes that the measuring tape not only can reveal a fish’s length, but also—at least in the case of some species—its provenance. Experts say that the body-measurement technique used in the study could become a valuable tool in fisheries management—for instance, by helping to determine whether fish have been caught illegally in marine-protection areas. The study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, reports that by employing morphometric, or body-shape, analysis, the origin of caught yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus) could be pinpointed with 79.5% accuracy. The method outperformed DNA analysis, which was found to have 52.4% accuracy, as well as a third measure—microchemical analysis of accreted elements from the environment—which had a 54% accuracy rate. Unlike... [Log in to read more]

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