Critical Reasoning
Verbal Ability

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Parland's alligator population has been declining in recent years, primarily because of hunting. Alligators prey heavily on a species of fresh water fish that is highly valued as food by Parlanders, who had hoped that the decline in the alligator population would lead to an increase in the numbers of these fish available for human consumption. Yet the population of this fish species has also declined, even though the annual number caught for human consumption has not increased.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain the decline in the population of the fish species?


The decline inthe alligator population has meant that fishers can work in some parts of lakes and rivers that were formerly too dangerous.


Over the last few years, Parland's commercial fishing enterprises have increased the number of fishing boats they use.


The main predator of these fish is another species of fish on which alligators also prey.


Many Parlanders who hunt alligators do so because of the high market price of alligator skins, not because of the threat alligators pose to the fish population.


In several neighboring countries through which Parland's rivers also flow, alligators are at risk of extinction as a result of extensive hunting.

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Option(C) is correct

Option A : Though this statementsuggests that the population of the prized fish species mayhave declined due to their being caught in greater numbers by fishers, the passage tells us that the number of these fish caught for human consumption has not increased. Therefore this statement cannot explain the species' decline in population.

Option B : The passage tells us that the number offish caught for human consumption has not increased.This answer choicedoes not provideany explanation forwhy the population of these fish has declined.

Option C :  Correct. Since alligators preyon the predatorfish, a decline in the alligatorpopulationcould result in an increase in the population of the predator fish, which could lead to an increase in non human consumption of the prized freshwater fish.

Option D : We already know from the passage that hunting hasled to a decline in the population of alligators. It is irrelevant what motivated the hunting of alligators.

Option E : The fact that alligators are at risk of extinction due to hunting in neighboring countries does not help explain why the prized freshwater fish species isdeclining in population. If it is puzzling why the fish population is declining despite the reduction in Parland's alligator population, it would be just as puzzling if the alligator population elsewhere was declining.

The correct answer is C.

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