At the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental and food justice

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's a Fish Eat Fish World

By Shanna Luster
NAMA's Intern
The Lab School of Washington

As part of my internship with NAMA, I'm learning about the marine ecosystem. And in the process I have learned that the ocean is a fish-eat-fish world and at the heart of that food web are pelagic fish.
Pelagic fish are the food source of most bony fish, and other ocean animals, like sea birds and sharks. Pelagic fish live in the pelagic zone, which goes from the surface almost to the bottom of the ocean. The pelagic zone can have up to five horizontal layers defined by the amount of light they reserve from the surface. These layers from top to bottom include Epipelagic (sunlight), Mesopelagic (twilight), Bathypelagic (midnight), Abyssopelagic (lower midnight). Pelagic fish range in the size from Blue fin Tuna to a sardine. Pelagic fish numbers are dropping at an alarming rate because of industrial scale purse seines and midwater trawl equipment. Also, global warming is changing the temperature of the ocean, meaning pelagic fish migration patterns change. Since many animals eat pelagic fish, this would also impact there migration patterns.

Humpback whales travel many miles to eat herring. Humpback whales lunge out of the water forcing the herring to go down their throats. When the humpback lunges out of the water to catch the herring most of the herring fly out of the water which gives the sea birds, like the brown pelican a chance to grab the flying  fish. The herring that is left over from the whales' feast is then taken by big schools of bluefin tuna. This symbiotic food chain is an example of how essential pelagic fish are. If all of the Pelagic fish leave the oceans, all of the ocean life will be affected, as will we. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow...good info. Is those pics you took during the internship? I am a folklorist and proverb collector and sometimes come across some interesting proverbs including fishes, birds and animals! You might be able to use it handy next time for your internship applications :-) Here are some...

    1.) It is not for everyone to catch a salmon. (English)

    2.) Even the most slippery eel and the clumsiest ladle may meet. (Philippine)

    3.) Salmon and sermon have both their season in Lent. (English)

    4.) Better a sardine on the dish than a flounder in the sea. (Hebrew)

    5.) Of all the fish in the sea, herring is the king. (English)

    6.) All kinds of fish eats man but only sharks get the blame. (Jamaican)

    7.) He that will catch eels must disturb the flood. (English)

    8.) A trout in the pot is better than the salmon in the sea. (Irish)

    9.) The fish will not look at bad bait; you can only bring home crabs. (hawaiian)

    10.) There is no catching trouts with dry breeches. (Portuguese)

    Hope you enjoyed reading these meaningful proverbs about fishes. Find more at...

    Good day,