Tag Archives: fishing

Trash Talk

When the blokes are at the pub after a long day out by the water and bragging (overexaggerating) about their ‘big catch’ have you ever noticed that (despite the variation in the tallness of the tale) all the fish look the same? And no, its not that all fish look the same (a lot of fish species do not actually look like the ‘typical’ fish that you expect) but more as a result of a long history of colonialist tastes influencing what is considered a desirable fish for sport fishing (spoiler: they look more similar to species you would expect to find in Europe).

This has resulted in any non-European looking fish being labelled as rough/trash. Which, firstly, isn’t very nice, but also means that these species do not receive the same level of protection or consideration as their non-trashy companions – they have even been actively eradicated by some!

Kat Kerlin wrote a lovely piece in physics.org discussing this issue and how we should actively try and address this prejudice and be mindful of how colonialist thinking has shaped our view and approaches to conservation.

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop: How Will Brexit Affect Europe’s Oceans?

Image Credit: Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

For the past three and a half years, the UK has been trawled through the political benthic sludge that is Brexit. With a second general election in two years arriving this Thursday, some sort of resolution finally seems to be on the horizon. And while much of the public discourse has focussed on the potential implications for Brexit following the election, climate change and the environment have also featured heavily.

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Finding the Key to Reef Shark Conservation

Species such as this Carribean reef shark have higher extinction risks than most fish. But how effective are our management efforts?

Species such as this Carribean reef shark have higher extinction risks than most fish. But how effective are our management efforts? (Image Credit: Albert kok, CC BY-SA 2.0, Image Cropped)

Reef accessibility impairs the protection of sharks (2018) Juhel et al., Journal of Applied Ecology 55

The Crux

The importance of sharks goes well beyond what Jaws did to Hollywood, or one week in the USA each July. In any reef ecosystem, sharks perform a key functional role, exerting top-down pressure, stabilising food webs, and improving general ecosystem functioning. They’re also ‘charismatic’ species, meaning they’re easier to raise funding for, and bring money in through tourism. Yet pressure from fishing suggests that reef shark populations may be under threat, and with high body sizes and long lifespans, their populations are more sensitive than most to overfishing, making extinction risks higher.

Yet the lack of data on shark populations means that the effectiveness of the few existing management programs is largely untested. This paper looks at Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), areas in which national or international bodies prevent fishing or even entry, to see whether or not they are an effective conservation method for shark populations.

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The Red King Crab

The Red King Crab has been invading Norwegian waters over the last 50 years

Image Credit: Michelle Pemberton, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY-SA 3.0, Image Cropped

“… a red army of monster crustaceans – marshaled by Soviet-era leaders – is threatening to invade Western Europe …”

– James Owen, National Geographic, 2004

Ominous. That’s the thing, isn’t it. Some invasive species look harmless. You can’t be scared of a baby Canada Goose, can you? Or a nice purple garden flower. Such florescence. You can, however, be scared of a spiny, alien-looking 10 kilo mass of spines and pincers that has been shuffling its way into Norwegian waters over the last half-century.

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