A new study says that hunters and anglers are harvesting animals that are the wrong age and size.
A new study, released by the journal “Science,” says that the practice of keeping big game and fish and throwing back the small ones doesn’t help species.
The study compared human practices to other predators. While humans harvest mature animals, other predators kill the small and the weak. Humans have now been dubbed “Super Predators.”
Chris Darimont, lead author of the study and a conservation scientist at the University of Victoria in Canada, said that the way humans hunt and fish leads to survival of the smallest, instead of survival of the fittest.
He added that taking larger animals has a short-term benefit, but not a long-term benefit.
The study found the biggest difference in human fishing habits. Darimont pointed to the Atlantic cod as an example. As fishermen have targeted larger cod, the population has been altered because younger cod have to reproduce, and they produce fewer eggs than mature cod.
Richard Methot, the science adviser for fish stock assessments at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, responded that the agency works to maintain a balance in order to provide seafood for consumption while sustaining the species and the ecosystems.