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Last year we cited research in Scotland that documents how climate change is causing sheep to shrink in size. Now we find that global warming may also be causing some fish to lose half their body mass. Why is this a problem? Having found global shrinkage in a variety of water-born organisms – from fish and plankton to bacteria – researcher Martin Daufresne of the Cemagref Public Agricultural and Environmental Research Institute in Lyon, France, points out that smaller fish tend to produce fewer eggs as well as less sustenance for predators – including you and me.
HAT TIP: dsc.discovery.com
Note to sushi fans: be sure to consult your Environmental Defense Fund Sushi Selector before ordering. Available at www.edf.org.
Researchers in England are designing robots with the ability to detect chemical hazards in water. Equipped with artificial intelligence software, the 20 inch-long robo-fish will travel in schools and communicate with each other via GPS. Sound fishy? Visit fordac.blogspot.com for details.
Not long ago, the slimehead – named for its distinctive mucus canals – lived in obscurity. Renamed “orange roughy” in the 1970’s, it is now widely overfished. Ditto the Patagonian toothfish (rechristened “Chilean sea bass”) and the mud crab (now known as the “peekytoe crab”). And a new strain of catfish which seafood marketers are calling “declacata” is coming soon to a dinner table near you.
Note: The naming of seafood is policed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which keeps a Seafood List of acceptable market names.
Hat Tip: washingtonpost.com.
The author of a French study says that global warming-driven shrinkage could have a “significant impact on organisms” including fish, which are getting smaller as the world gets warmer, having lost half their average body mass over the past 20 or 30 years. Other marine organisms such as plankton and bacteria are shrinking as well. There’s more of this incredible fish story at mnn.com.
Sustainable Sushi: A Guide To Saving the Oceans One Bite At A Time, written by a fishery and sustainability expert who was himself netted long ago by the allure of Japanese cuisine, Sustainable Sushi offers simple, clear explanations of such topics as mercury and PCB levels, overfishing, and species extinction.
Visit sustainablesushi.net for more information.
An update of the Supermarket Seafood Scorecard (released by Greenpeace) gives Trader Joe’s an “F” for continuing to stock “red list” seafood like orange roughy, swordfish, and childean sea bass – some of the world’s most critically imperiled species. In fact, none of the 20 stores Greenpeace is tracking get a green or top score (not even Whole Foods, though it gets the #3 spot).
More on Traitor Joe at traitorjoe.com.
For up-to-the-minute information that can help you become a wise, responsible purchaser of seafood, visit montereybayaquarium.
Hat Tip: Trent
At a time when the world’s oceans are severely over-fished, your seafood choices make a big difference. Make sustainable seafood choices quickly and easily – whether you’re eating at your favorite restaurant or shopping for dinner – with a Seafood Watch iPhone App. Don’t have an iPhone? Seafood Watch recommendations are available for all mobile devices with an Internet connection. If you don’t have a handheld device, you can also view the recommendations here: montereybayaquarium.org
An infographic is a “graphical exploration of the data that surrounds us.” This one shows us the catch numbers of some of the world’s most popular fish. You’ll note that many fish catches have peaked which means there are not enough fish left to catch. Click on the image for the full-page version.
Hat Tip: Peligro
This infographic is a collaboration between GOOD Magazine and Timko & Klick
Ghost fishing is the term for abandoned or lost fishing gear that keeps killing marine life for days, months, or even years after it vanishes.
A new United Nations report calls for more attention to the source. Most of the gear is made of plastic, and most of it comes from ships. And it is, of course, against the law to dump plastic at sea—specifically, it violates the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
The report recommends solutions aimed at prevention, mitigation and cure.
That translates to 1) reducing the likelihood of fishing gear being lost or dumped at sea 2) promoting biodegradability to make plastics less of a problem and 3) making it easier to track and recover lost gear. For details, click here.