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Growth overfishing occurs when fish are harvested at an average size that is smaller than the size that would produce the maximum yield per recruit. A recruit is an individual that makes it to maturity, or into the limits specified by a fishery, which are usually size or age. This makes the total yield less than it would be if the fish were allowed to grow to an appropriate size. Growth overfishing, by itself, does not affect the ability of a fi sh population to replace itself.