Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Wed 20 Jul 2005

Domesticating the sea

Category : science

"When will we tame the oceans?" Commentary by John Marra. Nature 436, 14 July 2005. In fisheries across the world, fish stocks are declining fast. Future preservation and management of the ocean's resources will require a transformation of our relationship with the seas.

Oceanic fish pens
Giant versions of coastal fish pens (containing about 100,000m3 of water) are being designed to drift freely in the ocean. fingerling fish will eventually be placed in pens in Florida. Then, the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic currents will carry the pens with their contained fish across the Atlantic, feeding them along the way.

Designed to drift at depths well below the surface, the pensŐ interference with shipping will be minimal. Arriving in Europe many months later, the fish will have grown to a marketable size. After harvesting, the pens can be reloaded with fingerlings for a return voyage.

Tuna 'herding' at sea.
Many species of tuna are attracted to anything that is sufficiently different from their surroundings. Fishermen take advantage of this behaviour by using a fish aggregating device or FAD. This can be as simple as a floating log, or a more complicated buoy system, or even a disturbance at the ocean surface.

Fishing boats directing a fire hose behind them create just such a disturbance, and can thereby attract a following of tuna. The tuna attracted to FADs can be fed, maintained, and a portion eventually harvested. FADs could increase yields. Tuna will never be domesticated, as are sheep or cattle, but the analogy of herding on the 'high plains' of the sea still holds.

Posted at 5:04AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .