Levels of large predatory fish in the global oceans were estimated to be about 10% of their pre-industrial levels by 2003. Large predatory fish are most at risk of extinction; there was a disproportionate level of large predatory fish extinctions during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. Creation of marine reserves has been found to restore populations of large predatory fish such as the Serranidae — groupers and sea bass.
Predatory fish switch between types of prey in response to variations in their abundance. Such changes in preference are disproportionate and are selected for as evolutionarily efficient. Predatory fish may become a pest if they are introduced into an ecosystem in which they become a new top predator. An example, which has caused much trouble in Maryland and Florida, is the snakehead fish.
Predatory fish such as sharks, mahi-mahi, billfish, and tuna form a part of the human diet, but they tend to concentrate significant quantities of mercury in their bodies if they are high in the food chain, especially as apex predators, due to biomagnification.
Predators are an important factor to consider in managing fisheries, and methods for doing so are available and used in some places.
- Myers, Ransom A.; Worm, Boris (15 May 2003), "Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities", Nature, Macmillan, 423 (6937): 280–283, doi:10.1038/nature01610, PMID 12748640.
- "Study unravels why certain fishes became extinct 65 million years ago". eScienceNews. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Garry R. Russ; Angel C. Alcala (2003), "Marine Reserves: rates and patterns of recovery and decline of predatory fish, 1983–2000" (PDF), Ecological Applications, 13 (6): 1553–1565, doi:10.1890/01-5341
- WW Murdoch; S Avery; MEB Smyth (1975), "Switching in predatory fish", Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 56 (5): 1094–1105, doi:10.2307/1936149, JSTOR 1936149
- US acts over predatory fish, BBC, 23 July 2002
- Definition of predatory species of fish to which the higher level of methyl mercury applies, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 6 May 1994, archived from the original on 4 March 2016, retrieved 10 May 2020
- Methods to consider predators in fishery management, The Pew Charitable Trusts, 7 May 2013
- Predatory fish on AquaticCommunity.com
- Predator fish in oceans on alarming decline, experts say Washington Post, 21 February 2011.