It can be, especially if the species being monitered is an indicator species. An indicator species is a species that tells us about the quality of their environment. Clams and lichens are such species; lichens are killed by high amounts of toxic materials, so areas of contamination can be pinpointed. Clams absorb toxins into their tissues and so can be used to monitor the quality of their environment.
So if the fish population population in question is particularly susceptible to toxins or reacts in some way to their presence, then they would be a good population to monitor to gauge the health of their environment.
Fish are hypersensitive to temperature too, so they can help gauge warming trends. Monitoring how fish live and thrive, or even survive, has helped us detect dead zones and discover what caused them. Yes, monitoring populations of fish are helpful in understanding the waters of their habitat.
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