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Archive for the 'Fish' Category

Fish can feel pain and react to it like humans

King salmon by USFWS
king salmon1

Fish don’t make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.

Joseph Garner, an assistant professor of animal sciences, helped develop a test that found goldfish do feel pain, and their reactions to it are much like that of humans.

A paper detailing the finding was published in the early on-line version of the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
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Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Under: Fish | 4 Comments »

Got ants in your pants? Don’t worry, you soon will!

In what sounds like a low budget horror film, voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area.

The hairy, reddish-brown critters are know as “crazy raspberry ants” — crazy, because they wander erratically instead of marching in lines like normal ants, and “raspberry” after Tom Raspberry, an exterminator who fought them early on.

“They’re itty-bitty things about the size of fleas, and they’re just running everywhere,” said Patsy Morphew, who is constantly sweeping them off her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful. “There’s just thousands and thousands of them.”
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Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008
Under: Fish, Insects, Invasive species, Spiders | No Comments »

Overfishing in the North Sea … in 1882

I was on vacation last week in Germany with my wife, Lois.

While there, Lois and I were fortunate to have a chance to visit the marvelous and monstrous Deutsches Museum in Munich. Whole floors of this beautiful and outstanding science and technology museum (eat your heart out, Smithsonian) were devoted to Aerospace, Aviation, Shipping, Energy & Power, Chemistry, the Environment, etc., etc.
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Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008
Under: Boats, Fish, Fishing | 1 Comment »

Nevada gold mines pollute Idaho lakes/streams/fish with mercury

My brother-in-law, Jim, sent me an e-mail about a serious problem affecting lakes, streams (and fish!) in Idaho, and possibly Utah and Montana.

Gary: We had a guest speaker from The Idaho Conservation League — VERY disturbing and depressing.

Idaho (as well as Utah and Montana to some degree) are “down-winders” of gold mines in Northern Nevada. A new gold extraction process (ore is heated to 1,000 degrees) started in the mid-1990’s causes the mercury in the ore to vaporize. The industry has known of this since 1990’s, but there has been no law — Nevada has had a “self policing” regulation and you can guess how well that has worked.
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Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2008
Under: Fish, Idaho, Mercury poisoning, Pollution | No Comments »

San Francisco Bay septic tank gets ANOTHER Marin County sewage spill

Once again, for the 5th time in 31 days, Marin County has flushed more raw sewage into San Francisco Bay.

That averages out to be approximately 1,001,550 gallons of raw sewage dumped into the Bay every 6 days by Marin County.

This latest dump of crap into our Bay came from the smelly little Marin city of San Rafael. According to the San Rafael Sanitation District, 6,000 gallons of raw sewage mixed with storm water spilled at around 11 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 24) at Fifth Avenue and Hetherton Street … apparently because residents have been flushing industrial-strength paper towels down their toilets instead of disposing of them in the garbage.

According to the Sanitation District, the towels, which don’t readily dissolve in water, supposedly got caught in tree roots, causing sewage to back up in a 15-inch pipe. The pipe overflowed and “was the district’s worst ever spill and the first one to spill into a ditch that led to the San Rafael Canal and San Pablo Bay.”

Tree roots in sewer pipes, eh?

It’s not as if our poor Bay hasn’t had enough pollution problems in the last few months, starting with 50,000-plus gallons of toxic fuel oil from the ship that rammed the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7.

Here’s the latest Marin Muck & Mire Score for 2008:

** 5 million-plus gallons of sewage from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin on Jan. 25 and on Jan. 31.

** Another 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from Marin’s San Quentin Prison on Feb. 14.

** Another 250 gallons of raw sewage from the North Marin Water District on Feb. 18.

** And now another 6,000 gallons of raw sewage and storm water from the San Rafael Sanitation District.

And these are just the spills we KNOW about.

What about the other cities and counties that border San Francisco Bay? Anyone know what these guys have been flushing into the San Francisco Bay Septic Tank since the first of the year? Please let me know.

I’m sure there are a lot of sick and dying aquatic birds, marine mammals, fish, crabs, shellfish and other barely living creatures that would also like to have that information before they die.

Andy Preston, administrator of the San Rafael Sanitation District, was quoted by Bay City News Service as saying a test for fecal coliform taken 24 hours after the spill showed an “acceptable” level for human contact.

That’s part of the problem right there — having “acceptable” levels for all the crap that gets dumped into the Bay.

And by the way, anyone know what the “acceptable” levels are for aquatic wildlife? Just kidding. Of course you don’t.

How about a new rule that says NO levels of fecal coliform are “acceptable” for humans and wildlife?

Even better … how about NO MORE SEWAGE SPILLS FROM MARIN COUNTY … for starters?

Dear San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board:

Anybody out there? /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Under: Birds, Fish, Sewage spills, Wildlife | No Comments »


Biologists trying to save an endangered trout used the wrong fish
(These are excerpts from a story by Associated Press writer Judith Kohler)
DENVER — A 20-year government effort to restore the population of an endangered native trout in Colorado has made little progress because biologists have been stocking some of the waterways with the wrong fish, a new study says. (OOPS!)

The recovery effort by Colorado and federal biologists was thought to be close to its goal of 20 self-sustaining populations of at least 500 fish each. Bruce Rosenlund of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver said federal and state agencies working on restoration believed the fish were found in 142 miles of waterways … Researchers, though, said that based on genetic test results, the greenback cutthroat trout’s range is only … 11 miles of streams. (OOPS!)

The study said the results imply that the effort has “failed to improve the species’ status.” (YA THINK?)

In 1998, officials projected it would cost $634,000 to bring the greenback to recovery … it wasn’t clear how much of that has been spent to stock the rivers with the wrong fish.

The best part of this? It only took them 20 years to figure all this out.

Oh, well, at least they were stocking the rivers and streams with real fish … uh … weren’t they?

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Under: Fish | No Comments »

There’s more to home than just home

I was out driving around with my wife, Lois, last weekend when our conversation for some reason turned to salmon. This is a fish species that hatches in a stream, then swims down the stream and into the ocean where it spends up to 8 years swimming around for maybe thousands of miles before eventually returning to its home in the exact stream where it was originally hatched, to spawn and raise a new family.

Lois expressed her amazement that a little fish can spend all that time swimming around in the big ocean and then somehow manage to find it’s way home to the tiny stream where it had hatched from eggs.

That caused me to think about the tiny songbirds that visit the bird feeders in our backyards. Some of these birds will fly thousands of miles down to South America to winter at the same spot every year in South American jungles, then turn around at springtime and fly back to your house in time to peck on your kitchen window and complain about the empty bird feeder in your yard.

That’s pretty amazing, too. Think about it. No road maps. No country back roads or super highways. No highway patrol officers to give them instructions to the next off-ramp. Do the birds use the earth’s magnetic field like a compass? Does the stream water smell "different" to the salmon, stirring childhood memories of the place where it was spawned years before to help guide it back?

As Lois suggested with a little smile and a wry shake of her head, "Maybe there’s more to home than just home."

Speaking of home, if I turn left here, will this road bring us back to our street?

Posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
Under: Fish, Home, wild birds, Wildlife | No Comments »

When in Rome

According to a story by Tracy Wilkinson in the Nov. 9 Los Angeles Times, Rome, Italy, has now:

  • Banned goldfish bowls (too small). The fish must be kept in a full-size aquarium. You also can’t give the fish away as contest prizes.
  • Required dog owners to exercise their pets daily, or pay a $625 fine.
  • Forbidden the use of choke and electric collars.
  • Forbidden cosmetic declawing and tail and ear docking in dogs and cats.
  • Banned displaying pets for sale in store windows.

Do you think it’s catching?

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2005
Under: Animals, Cats, dogs, Fish, Pets | 4 Comments »