Great job, humanity: Global warming forces ocean fish to new waters  »


Global warming is fucking with the fish, and the fish-catching economy is finally catching on. From All Things Considered:

The new study in Nature shows these anecdotes aren’t simply a fluke. Data from fish catches from around the world show it’s happening everywhere the ocean is warming—which is just about everywhere.

So they’re seeing swordfish in Denmark, Mexico-based Humboldt squid in British Columbia, and Atlantic mackerel in Iceland. I wonder what it’ll be like when we’ve made the oceans so hot fish can’t live there anymore. What’ll become of the pescatarians?

"This is suddenly a wake-up call," [Mark Payne at the National Institute for Aquatic Resources in Denmark] says. “It’s a strong suggestion that climate change is here. It’s real, and it’s really starting to affect what we catch and, therefore, what we eat.”

Bye, environment! Nice polluting you!

[Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel photo by Klaus Stiefel via Flickr]


World to cool it on shark-finning, at least for five species  »

imageAnnually about 2 million scalloped hammerheads are killed for their fins.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) voted this week to restrict permits on exporting the fins of five species of sharks, to end trade in all freshwater sawfish, and restrict exports of manta rays’ gill plates.

Previous Cites meetings had seen similar protection proposals for sharks rejected, but new support from Latin American and west African countries, and the promise of cash from the European Union to help change fishing practices, won the day. The decisions could be reopened for debate at the final plenary session of the summit and potentially overturned. If, not all the measures will be implemented after an 18-month period in which enforcement measures can be set up.

A little less needless human destruction of the oceans! Keep up the totally necessary and hopefully not-too-late work, Cites.

[Photo by Clifton Beard via Flickr]


Welcome to protection under California’s Endangered Species Act, great white shark!  »


Great whites are the scariest sharks ever, thanks to movies and television and their natural aura of gruesome death, but of course also despite the protections we already had in place for them, commercial fishing is reckless and whoops, we’re accidentally killing them so fish-eaters can eat fish.

Great whites have been off-limits to commercial and sport fishing under California law since 1994, Reuters noted.  However, the fish, particularly young ones, still wind up as “bycatch” in gill-nets intended for halibut, swordfish and white sea bass off of California and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.  Such bycatch, also known as “incidental taking,” has been unrestricted.

But now (for a month already!), thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, great whites are now protected under the state Endangered Species Act. They’re not on the Endangered Species list, but this news is progress toward that end. Save the great white! Don’t let the Pacific (completely) go to hell because a bunch of jerks are hungry for fish steaks.

[Story via Ken Layne’s animal beat. Photo by KQED Quest via Flickr]


I’m late getting this up but better late than etc. You know JP is my main squeeze so I support everything he does with his fine self. I don’t find this video that moving for some reason though. I don’t know why. Maybe just because I know he’s not really drowning or anything. Thoughts? 


Tell the FDA to properly regulate GMO salmon before they make wild salmon extinct !  »

imageOur pal Katie Cantrell of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition wants to make us aware of two things regarding farmed GM salmon: One, that the FDA is thisclose to approving AquaAdvantage’s genetically modified salmon; two, that the FDA plans to regulate this new salmon as “an ‘animal drug’ rather than a new food product, drastically limiting the safety tests it must undergo.”

Equally disturbing, the FDA report does not assess how the salmon would affect the environment in which it is raised, because the actual farming will take place in Canada and Panama (5). The GE salmon grow twice as fast as wild salmon, and eat five times as much food (6). If the GE salmon were to escape, they would lead to the complete extinction of wild salmon within 40 fish generations. AquaAdvantage has sterilized the fish to try to prevent this, but 5-10 percent of sterilized fish are still fertile (7).

And farmed salmon do escape! FFAC invites you to participate in the FDA’s public comment period, which is open through Feb. 25. There’s a petition here asking the FDA to slow down on its approval of this salmon. Anyone concerned with the future of wild fish should read about AquaAdvantage’s product and consider signing the petition. If they are going to force this new fish on us, they should at least study it in depth so they can regulate it properly.

[Photo by Clive Moss via Flickr]



My nightmare is coming true: European catfish leap from the water to catch birds  »

Look at them! Lurking just under the water! I have said forever that fish are entirely untrustworthy, that if they had any sense at all they’d all go full piranha and start devouring us air-breathing, water-defiling jerks. And now, they’ve begun.

Per Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science, European catfish in the River Tarn are hunting pigeons on a gravel island in the city of Albi. The pigeons innocently step into the water to bathe, and the catfish leap out of the water to catch a bird, drag it under, and swallow it whole. WELCOME TO NIGHTMARE TOWN:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on]

See? Terrifying. And the speculation just makes it worse:

The European catfish is an alien, introduced into the Tarn in 1983, and currently flourishing there. Is it possible that these invaders have eaten too many local fish and are forced to seek sustenance elsewhere? Does this explain why it seems to be the smaller catfish that go after pigeons? Or is it that the smaller individuals are less likely to be permanently stranded on shore, or expend less energy in wiggling back into the water? Why, essentially, is a bird in the mouth worth being a fish out of water?

You realize what’s going to happen, right? Humans are going to empty the seas of all but the least edible fishes, which, denied every other form of sustenance, will have to turn to eating bathing animals of all species to survive. WE ARE THE CREATORS OF OUR OWN DESTRUCTION.

[Photo and video via Not Exactly Rocket Science]


Americans eating feces-filled fish! Yum yum!  »

Love to eat dead water animals? Well, enjoy some pig and geese shit with your tasty tilapia carcass! YUM YUM. 

Yep, Americans are consuming insane amounts of dead fish that were raised on feces in China (where, according to Bloomberg, 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from). Check it out:

At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. ‘The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,’ says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China.


On a sweltering, overcast day in August, the smell of excrement is overpowering. After seeing dead fish on the surface, Chen, 45, wades barefoot into his murky pond to open a pipe that adds fresh water from a nearby canal. Exporters buy his fish to sell to U.S. companies.

So, not only are your dead fish being fed shit, they’re actually being raised in it, too. Well, the ones who even survive the ordeal and make it into your shitty dinner. Pro tip for home cooks: just douse with extra fresh lemon juice to cover up that shit stank! Oh, and maybe get a tetanus shot? And also, a barf bag?

And it’s not just fish! Shrimp, one of the absolute worst things you can eat if you give a shit about the environment or AMAZING SEA TURTLES (Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 26 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp they collect! ONE POUND. Please read Eating Animals for more fun facts like this!) is feeling the funk, too. It all starts at Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise in Vietnam (8 percent of the shrimp Americans eat comes from Vietnam), where dead shrimps are stored in water that’s deemed “not safe for drinking” and “workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau.”

Seriously, someone get me to Long John Silver’s for a basket of deep-fried salmonella STAT! USA! USA!

[H/t to genius news juggernaut Eve Batey for the awesome/awful link!]


Follow-up: What should we feed our cats?  »

My cat now eats lots of fish.

A couple months ago, in the wake of a late-night vet visit, I asked what kind of wet food I should be feeding my cat. Fifty-five comments, three emails, and several experiments later, I can report the following:

  1. Vegansaurus readers are awesome! Thanks so much for all your thoughtful, insightful comments. I highly recommend anyone with or considering a cat read the thread.
  2. Zuki is feeling much better.
  3. Boulder, CO, where I am lucky enough to work, has two hippie pet stores in the same shopping center (Only Natural Pets and Whole Pets). Obviously there’s a Whole Foods and a bike shop there as well. It’s ridic, like the town’s trying to make fun of itself. How do these stores not put each other out of business? They’re 100 feet apart!!
  4. My cat doesn’t like nice things. First, she rejected a fancy heated cat bed. Now, she won’t go anywhere near the lovely raindrop water fountain we got her (I think the low hum bugs her?). Luckily, the store has a fantastic return policy. Move four times in a summer and she comes out unfazed, but plug in a trickly water burble that every other pet on the planet goes ga-ga for and it’s like someone turned on a vacuum cleaner or something.
  5. It’s really hard to find solid information about where the meat in pet food is sourced. Can labels? No way. Company websites? As if. The guy at Only Natural Pets (a vet tech at a holistic vet for 6 years, he claimed) was really informative and very nice when I told him I was a vegan on a mission, but I only trust him about 60% of the way. That said, his top brands for conscientious sourcing: Addiction, ZiwiPeak, Evangers.
  6. My husband, my cat, and I have settled on what we think is our best option for feeding the cat wet food: Evangers Whole Mackerel with Gravy. We are now purchasing it by the case, and Zuki is a fishatarian. 

Here’s why we chose the Evangers:

  • It’s all fish, and wild-caught at that (Evangers told me it comes from the Pacific Ocean). Thus the suffering packaged in our 100% recyclable steel cans is much less than say, food with factory-farmed pigs or even cows or chicken. Environmentally, mackerel is a “species of least concern" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Ed note: damn IUCN, you’re cold!].
  • It’s produced in the USA. The foods from New Zealand seem to be the very most sustainable/responsible, but they’re from New Zealand. Not only is that a long-ass way to ship pet food, it makes it really, really expensive.*
  • Zuki likes it. Obviously key. And because it’s whole fish, I like to pretend she’s having a fun cat experience getting to devour something. 
Anyway, there you have it. I still wish I could go back to the easy days of no-mess dry food, but I’m getting used to scooping out little fishes, and the cat seems much happier and healthier. 
Bizarre side effect: Now that she’s more hydrated, she drools when she’s happy. Drip, drip, drip. Weird. But cute. But also gross.
Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts, let me know what you think of our solution!

*Not that Evanger’s is cheap: It’s costing us about $1.13 a day to feed the cat now. It was WAY cheaper with dry food.


Save the tiniest (but still kinda big) dolphin from extinction!  »

Tiny animals WHAT! Unfortunately it’s not all fun and games for these Maui dolphins found on the west coast of New Zealand, and they’re not as tiny as I thought they would be.

The 55 Maui dolphins left on the planet, including as little as 20 breeding females, are facing “imminent” extinction, according to a new study, because of commercial fishing. These dolphins grow to about 5.5 feet long, live about 20 years, and have only about three or four calves in their lifetimes.

Commercial fishing is evil, duh, and not just for catching fish for people to eat. Trawling and vast fixed nets held in place by anchors have been blamed for killing the Maui dolphins. Sign the last-ditch effort petition to save the relatively tiny Maui dolphins!

[image via Daily Mail, photographer not identified]


Meet the newest member of the catshark family! Its name is Bythaelurus giddingsi, and it lives in the waters off the Galapagos islands. Seven of them, including big eyes up there, now live at the Cal Academy, with other, non-Galapagos catsharks.
This little fellow is “roughly the same size as a typical housecat,” and is pretty adorable for a top-level predator whose environment is being cold ruined by fishing.
[photo from the California Academy of Sciences, via Wired. Link from The Awl newsletter, which is great but has nothing to do catsharks, generally]

Meet the newest member of the catshark family! Its name is Bythaelurus giddingsi, and it lives in the waters off the Galapagos islands. Seven of them, including big eyes up there, now live at the Cal Academy, with other, non-Galapagos catsharks.

This little fellow is “roughly the same size as a typical housecat,” and is pretty adorable for a top-level predator whose environment is being cold ruined by fishing.

[photo from the California Academy of Sciences, via Wired. Link from The Awl newsletter, which is great but has nothing to do catsharks, generally]

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