In both protected and fished rocky reefs in the southern Adriatic Sea, the behaviour of the sea breams Diplodus sargus and D. vulgaris (both targeted by spear-fishing) in the presence of divers was found to be mostly negative (i.e. escape response). However, at protected reefs sea breams frequently swam into the closest shelters, whereas in fished reefs they mostly escaped in open water. This study suggests that spear-fishing may alter the escape response of fish from natural predators and that marine reserves may re-establish natural behaviour patterns.
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