An understanding of the reproductive biology of a species is a central aspect of providing sound scientific advice for fisheries management. Reproductive biology plays a large part in determining productivity and therefore a populations resiliency to exploitation by fisheries or to perturbation caused by other human activities. This paper provides an overview of variation in reproductive characteristics in commercial fish species and examines the impact on perceived productivity. It is clear that accounting for variation in reproductive biology can have a major impact on advice for fisheries management. Further work is required on the methods used to estimate reproductive characteristics such as maturation, sex ratio, and fecundity, and research to better understand the tradeoffs leading to variation in these reproductive traits. It will also be necessary to demonstrate that incorporating more complex estimates of reproductive potential results in better scientific advice for fisheries management.
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