All the pressing questions on fish migration

It’s not 20 questions - it’s even more: Now researchers have identified 100 pressing questions on fish migration.

Published Sep 13, 2019
Laksesmolt
Salmon smolt migrating out of the Vosso water system (Photo: Bjørn Barlaup, NORCE)

An international team of researchers, lead by Robert Lennox at NORCE, have developed the list of questions, published in a paper by the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Fish migration is of high ecological importance, and many human populations depend on predictable migrations of fish for their subsistence and livelihoods.

At the same time, fish migratory behavior is under significant threat, Lennox and his co-authors point out.

To ensure a sustainable future, researchers therefore need to identify the pressing questions, and answer them in the years to come.

– Despite knowledge that migration is critical to both ecosystems and humans, there are still many unsolved challenges facing migratory fish. Physical barriers, pollution, fisheries, and many other stressors - such as climate change - impact fish migration on a daily basis, says first author Lennox.

He is a senior researcher and fish biologist affiliated with NORCE at LFI, the Laboratory for Fresh water ecology and inland fisheries in Bergen, Norway.

Form the basis of future fish migration research

– Worldwide, mounting threats to migratory fishes are outpacing our understanding of these species and their behaviour, meaning that research is crucial. Our work at NORCE LFI has a strong focus on Norway’s migratory species such as trout and salmon and this paper helps us contextualize the problems we face on the global scale, says Lennox.

– Hopefully this paper will highlight how important and relevant these questions are and help spur action to protect these special resources, he adds.

Both fundamental and applied scientists who study fish migrations in marine and freshwater environments, worked to identify the final 100 questions.

– The 100 questions that we envision will form the basis of future fish migration research to fill knowledge gaps and help protect these critically important species, Lennox says.

The researchers who contributed to the paper are affiliated with research institutions in Canada, Norway, USA, England, Denmark, Brazil, South Africa, India, Australia, China and Japan.

Reference:

Robert J. Lennox, et al. One Hundred Pressing Questions on the Future of Global Fish Migration Science, Conservation, and Policy. Front. Ecol. Evol., 19 August 2019 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00286