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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Fish diversity reduction and assemblage structure homogenization in lakes: A case study on unselective fishing in China

Liu, Han; Chen, Yushun; Gozlan, Rodolphe E.; Qu, Xiao; Xia, Wentong; Cheng, Fei; Wang, Lizhu; Paukert, Craig P.; Olden, Julian D.; Xie, Songguang


Unselective fishing involves activities that target the entire assemblage rather than specific fish species, size classes, or trophic levels. This common fishing approach has been in practice for decades in inland waters in China but its implications for biodiversity remain unclear. We addressed this issue by studying fish assemblages in freshwater lakes (five fishing lakes, one reference lake, and a total of 51 sampling sites) between pre- and post-fishing time-periods in Eastern China during 2017–2019. The effects of lake, fishing period, and their interactions on fish abundance, biomass, and diversity indices were assessed. Multivariate analysis was conducted to test for differences in fish assemblages among lakes and between fishing periods. After the implementation of fishing activities, significant reductions in fish species richness, abundance, biomass, and all three life-history strategies (opportunistic, equilibrium, and periodic) were observed in fishing lakes, whereas opposite trends were observed in the reference lake. Compositional similarity of fish assemblages among fishing lakes increased over the three-year monitoring period. Our results suggest that unselective fishing reduces fish diversity and homogenizes fish assemblage structure in lakes. These findings have important implications for protecting both biodiversity and fisheries in inland waters in China and are applicable to other countries or regions that rely on fish as a major food source.


Biodiversity conservation; Human stressors; Inland fisheries; Over exploitation; Sustainability; Beta diversity

Published in

Water Biology and Security
2022, Volume: 1, number: 3, article number: 100055
Publisher: Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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