The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'fish'
A new documentary claims that, unless severe limits are placed on industrialised fishing, global fish populations will have collapsed to extinction by 2048:
It was the global capital of cod, a fishing town where the scaly creatures of the sea were so abundant they could be caught with your hands. But in the 1980s, something strange happened. The catches started to wane. The fish grew smaller. And then, in 1991, they disappeared.
It turned out the cod had been hoovered out of the sea at such a rapid rate that they couldn't reproduce themselves. But the postscript is spookier still. The Canadian government banned any attempts at fishing there, on the assumption that the few remaining fish would slowly repopulate the waters. But 15 years on, they haven't. The population was so destroyed that it could never recover.
This process of trawlering is an oceanic weapon of mass destruction, ripping up everything in its path. Charles Clover, who wrote the book on which the documentary is based, has a good analogy for it. Imagine a band of hunters stringing a mile of net between two massive all-terrain vehicles and dragging it at speed across the plains of Africa. Imagine it scooping up everything in its way: lions and cheetahs and hippos and wild dogs. The net has a massive metal roller attached to its leading edge, smashing down every tree that gets in its way. And in the end, when the hunters open up the net, they pick out the choicest creatures and dump the squashed remains in the sun as carrion for the vultures.Luckily, there is a solution; unfortunately, it is an impractical one, given the power of the fishing lobby:
The scientific experts say we need to follow two steps. First, expand the 0.6 per cent of the area of the world's oceans in which fishing is banned to 30 per cent. In these protected areas, fish can slowly recover. Second, in the remaining 70 per cent, impose strict quotas on fishermen and police it properly, as they do in Alaska, New Zealand and Iceland.
The cost of this programme? $14bn a year – precisely the sum we currently spend on subsidising fishermen. At no extra cost, we could turn them from the rapists of the oceans into their guardians.Even if they managed to beat the fishing lobby and impose these bans, they would only as good as the ability to enforce them; pirate fishing operations, such as the Chinese zombie ships operating on the high seas, would be harder to stop.
British supermarket chain Sainsbury's has unilaterally renamed the fish known as pollack to "colin", in an attempt to rid it of connotations of poor quality and/or avoid potential offense to Britain's Polish community. In a further attempt to sell more of the fish, Sainsbury's hired the designer Wayne Hemingway (of fashion label Red Or Dead) to come up with Jackson Pollock-inspired packaging for the newly rebranded fish.
This is not the first time Britain's supermarkets have renamed products to avoid (actual or imagined) embarrassment; in 2001, Tesco considered renaming spotted dick to "spotted Richard".
Animal-liberationist group PETA have launched a new campaign to fight for the rights of fish to not be caught or eaten: rebranding them as "Sea Kittens":
Given the drastic situation for this country's sea kittens—who are often the victims of many major threats to their welfare and ways of life—it's high time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stop allowing our little sea kitten friends to be tortured and killed. Who'd want to hurt a sea kitten anyway?!
Sea kittens are just as intelligent (not to mention adorable) as dogs and cats, and they feel pain just as all animals do.
Please take just a few moments to send an e-mail to H. Dale Hall, the director of the FWS, asking him to stop promoting the hunting of sea kittens (otherwise known as "fishing"). The promotion of sea kitten hunting is a glaring contradiction of FWS' mission to "conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats."
Deadly piranha found in Thames, a river formerly declared biologically dead. Mind you, the killer fish was likely to have been (illegally) released by a private collector (or their vengeful ex-lover or young child who just saw Finding Nemo or something), rather than being a manifestation of global climate havoc:
Piranhas have taste buds which cover their bodies so that they can deduce whether any passing fish is worth eating. It doesn't bear thinking about what such sensitivity must have made of the polluted Thames.
The CIA have created a robot catfish, which looks just like a real fish and may or may not have been used for unspecified purposes. The catfish, named Charlie, is being exhibited at the CIA museum, along with robotic bumblebees and dragonflies (which turned out too hard to navigate for practical use) and the usual assortment of miniature cameras and such; the exhibition, however, is off-limits to the public. So next time an innocuous-looking 600mm-long catfish swims past, smile.
Fish on Prozac! (Which sounds like a Clag/New Waver MP3 mashup, but I digress.)
According to a study by a Baylor University toxicologist, fluoxetine -- the active ingredient in the antidepressant Prozac -- is making its way to a lake in the Dallas area and into the tissue of the fresh water blue gill fish.
Science may have finally developed a happy fish that doesn't mind being eaten, and whose fluoxetine-saturated flesh makes you contented.
The future of household pets looks like the Night Pearl, a genetically-modified tropical fish that glows in the dark and doesn't need aquarium lights. This could lead to a revolution in designer pets, including non-allergenic cats, odourless dogs, and exotic-looking pets requiring very little maintenance and doubling as lighting fixtures, as well as numerous unintended consequences:
And that is the scenario that worries British aquarium enthusiasts. 'One idea being explored is to add genes - taken from cold water fish - that will allow tropical fish to live in unheated aquarium,' said Derek Lambert, editor of Today's Fishkeeper. 'Just imagine what would happen if they got released. You could end up with strange coloured GM tropical fish in our waters.'
Discovery of the day: aquarium fish are fascinated by cameras.
I was at Volare in Brunswick St., and noticed an aquarium full of large orange fish. As large orange fish suspended in water make good objects to photograph, I took out my camera. As I approached, the fish flocked to the lens. Whenever I moved the camera up or down to get different angles, the fish would immediately swarm towards the lens. It seemed that the cheeky little buggers loved having their pictures taken.