Tag Archives | Fish

Mutant Fish From The BP Oil Spill

blinkyTwo years later, scientists say they have never seen anything like the creatures swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, Al Jazeera reports:

“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities. Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.

“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities.

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Rising CO2 ‘Driving Fish Crazy’

Photo: Nick Hobgood (CC)

Photo: Nick Hobgood (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

New research shows the disastrous consequences the world’s rising carbon dioxide levels are having on ocean life.

A team of researchers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University published their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. They document how elevated CO2 is “driving fish crazy.”

The Australian Associated Press reports that the new research point to ocean problems beyond acidification.  From Professor Phillip Munday, one of the researchers:

”We’ve now established it isn’t simply the acidification of the oceans that is causing disruption, as is the case with shellfish and plankton with chalky skeletons. But the CO2 itself is damaging the fishes’ central nervous systems.”

Agence France-Presse reports:

The team began by studying how baby clown and damsel fishes performed alongside their predators in CO2-enriched water.

They found that while the predators were somewhat affected, the baby fish suffered much higher rates of attrition.

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Three-Eyed Fish Caught Outside a Nuclear Power Plant

The Simpsons called it … via Geekologie:

Seen looking like about 40 fish sticks, a group of fishermen caught this three-eyed Simpsons ‘blinky’ fish in a lake near a nuclear power plant in Argentina. Jealous cyclops shark is jealous! Per Babel Fish (how appropriate!) translation:

“We were fishing and we took the surprise to remove this rare unit. As it were at night then we did not realize, but later it watched it to one with a lantern and it saw that it had a third eye”, elated Julian Zmutt, one of the fishermen. Zmutt assured that it is the first time that happens to him and that the finding began to worry to the population because “it begins to speak of the nuclear power station.”

Not gonna lie, I’d probably err on the side of safety and just not fish in the lake by the nuclear power plant. Bathe, sure, but I’ve always wanting a glowing peen that could guide me to the bathroom at night without having to turn on any lights.

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Earth’s Oceans On Brink Of Mass Extinction In One Generation

cousteau-fish-school_1393_600x450Clear the ocean of all of those pesky fish, and then we can put all sorts of cool things down there. Via the Independent:

The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted; many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions; the first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun.

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today.

The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The coming together of these factors is now threatening the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history”, according to the report, from a panel of leading marine scientists.

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Hey Smokers, You’re Killing The Fish

Photo: Sillyputtyenemies

Photo: Sillyputtyenemies (CC)

It turns out that fish are also helpless victims of smokers. No joke, as reported by Jeffrey Kluger for TIME:

For smokers, the world has always been one big ashtray, with cigarettes flicked away pretty much anywhere. That’s especially true now, since smokers are increasingly forbidden to light up in restaurants, office buildings and even new no-smoking condos. In the great river of litter human beings create each year, so tiny a thing as a cigarette butt hardly seems to amount to much. But with the world’s smokers burning through a breathtaking 5.6 trillion cigarettes per year — 4.5 trillion of which are simply tossed away outside after they’re smoked — little things add up fast. That, as it turns out, can be especially dangerous for one type of nonhuman critter: fish.

About a third of all of the trash found on U.S. shorelines consists of cigarette butts.

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Fish For Dinner? Bring Your Geiger Counter

Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times

Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times

I ate sushi last night at the extraordinary Japanese restaurant Sushi of Gari. Now that I’ve read this story by William Neuman and Florence Fabricant in the New York Times I’m wishing I’d brought along a Geiger counter. The photo is essential, so NYT, we hereby claim fair use:

Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin, the high temple of seafood in Manhattan, bought a new kitchen gadget a few days ago: a radiation detector.

“I just want to make sure whatever we use is safe,” said Mr. Ripert, whose staff is using the device to screen every item of food that enters the restaurant, regardless of its origin. He has also stopped buying fish from Japan, which means no high-quality, farm-raised hamachi and kampachi for raw seafood dishes.

“Nobody knows how the currents will carry the contaminated water,” he said.

Despite assurances by health officials that radiation from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is unlikely to show up in the food supply, worries about contaminated foods are growing among consumers, businesses and governments across the globe.

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As Fish Die Off, Jellyfish To Dominate Earth’s Oceans

Nomura-jellyfish-2Around the globe, fish populations are declining while the number of jellyfish is exploding. Climate change may be “turning back the clock to the Precambrian world, more than 550 million years ago, when the ancestors of jellyfish ruled the seas,” writes Yale Environment 360. Bow down to our future gelatinous overlords:

The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish.

The Nomura’s jellyfish is a monster to be reckoned with. It’s the size of a refrigerator and can exceed 450 pounds. For decades the hulking medusa was rarely encountered in its stomping grounds, the Sea of Japan.

Then something changed. Since 2002, the population has exploded six times. In 2005, a particularly bad year, the Sea of Japan brimmed with as many as 20 billion of the bobbing bags of blubber, bludgeoning fisheries with 30 billion yen in losses.

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Thousands of Birds and Fish Dead in Arkansas: What Would A Conspiracy Theorist Think? (Video)

Dead Birds CleanupIn addition to the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky on New Year's Eve, it's gets even weirder: 100,000 dead fish were found floating in the Arkansas River just days before. (UPDATE: Hundreds more birds were found dead in Louisiana today). Patrik Jonsson asks the question on many of our minds in the CS Monitor:
The deluge of dead red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and starlings that fell out of the skies over Beebe, Ark., on New Year's Eve in all likelihood has a simple scientific explanation. Yet genuine concern spread quickly through the town of about 5,000 on New Year's Eve, and understandably so, as environmental cleanup workers in white jumpsuits descended on Beebe on New Year's Day to pick up thousands of dead birds from roads and walkways. The main worry was that the birds, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, were an indicator of a toxic threat – a possibility that has largely been ruled out. Yet the event spooked residents near and far as, in the absence of a final explanation, imaginations are running wild. People have tried to link the bird die-off — which is certainly unusual, though not unprecedented — to everything from a sign of biblical end times to chemical conspiracies, shifts in the Earth's magnetic core, and even proof of UFOs.
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Genetically Modified Salmon Near FDA Approval

Photo: Atlantic salmon

Photo: Atlantic salmon

While most people are wondering what will happen to the fishing industry in the Gulf, Massachucettes geneticists are raising quick-growing Atlantic salmon.  Les Blumenthal of McClatchy Newspapers writes:

WASHINGTON — They may not be the 500-pound “Frankenfish” that some researchers were talking about 10 years ago, but a Massachusetts company says it’s on the verge of receiving federal approval to market a quick-growing Atlantic salmon that’s been genetically modified with help from a Pacific Chinook salmon.

Though genetically engineered crops such as corn and soybeans have been part of the American diet for several years, if the Food and Drug Administration approves it, the salmon would be the first transgenic animal headed for the dinner table.

“I would serve it to my kids,” said Val Giddings, who worked as a geneticist at the U.S. Agriculture Department for a decade before becoming a private consultant.

The financial rewards could be enormous.

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Fluorescent Fish

There’s an old myth that if you breed a goldfish in the dark it will eventually glow iPhoto: Nonfluorescent convict cichlidn the dark.  But Taiwan has figured out a way to make a fish glow by changing its genetics.

Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture exhibited the newest success in transgenic modification last week with the showing of fluorescent convict cichlids.  Convict cichlids, commonly known as zebra cichlids, have been successfully bred through five generations.  After sevens years of research and experimentation, there is still another year left of tests to insure that the fish are able to survive in a natural environment without causing harmful side effects.

Business is already in the works for these fish to be transferred to private companies with the intent of commercial marketing.  It is predicted that this new breed will be on the ornamental fish markets as early as next year. See video clip below:

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