Tag Archives: fish

Record-breaking fish caught in North Carolina: ‘Looked like a whale in the back of the boat’

This is why it’s always a good idea to keep a biologist’s number in your phone.

A fisherman in North Carolina reeled in a massive 127-lb catfish during a recent trip. While actually catching the fish was hard, actually getting weighed on a certified scale by an official was almost as difficult.

Rocky Baker spoke with Fox News about catching the fish, which is in the process of being certified as a new state record.

Rocky Baker spoke with Fox News about catching the fish, which is in the process of being certified as a new state record.
(Brent Townsend)

Rocky Baker spoke with Fox News about catching the fish, which is in the process of being certified as a new state record. According to Baker, a state biologist certified the weight and measurements and the paperwork is in the mail.

WHALE SLAMS INTO FISHING BOAT, KNOCKING PASSENGER INTO WATER AND LEAVING HOLE IN THE HULL

Baker caught the fish while out on a trip on the Roanoke River with his buddy, Justin Clifton. According to Baker, if Clifton hadn’t been there, he never would’ve been able to get the record-breaking catfish into the boat.

The fish took the bait just after 9:30 pm on Saturday. Baker said he knew the fish was big, but it wasn’t until he got it into the boat that he realized it might be something special. According to him, it looked like a whale in the back of the boat.

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While a scale on the boat measured the fish weighing between 130 to 140 pounds, Baker took the fish to a nearby store, E-Z Bait and Tackle, which had a certified scale. 

Unfortunately, they didn’t arrive until about 1:30 a.m. The state biologist wasn’t able to make it to the store to certify the weight until 5:30 a.m.

Baker explained that he and Clifton spent the hours keeping the fish alive and as comfortable as it could be. While the official was slightly less than what Baker originally thought, it was still big enough to set a new state record.

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As for the fish, Baker released it back into the river after everything was finalized. The last he saw the fish, it was swimming back down to the bottom of the water.

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This post originally posted here usnews

These ancient deep-sea fish can live five times as long as biologists expected

Lurking in the waters off the coasts of East Africa and Indonesia is the coelacanth—an ancient species of fish that can reach up to 6.5 feet in length. They reside in the ocean’s “twilight zone,” the dimly lit depths 500 to 800 feet below the surface. Little is known about these slow-moving giants. In fact, scientists previously thought they went extinct about 65 million years ago along with the dinosaurs. It wasn’t until the first live specimen was caught in 1938 that scientists realized the marine mammoths were swimming in the deep today.

Scientists have observed very few coelacanths partially due to their mysterious behavior—they spend most of the day clustered together in volcanic caves. The creatures are classified as critically endangered, which means fishing them is prohibited, so very few ever make it up to the surface. However, a study published this month in Current Biology has begun to unravel some of these scaly critters’ secrets. 

The latest study, which was unfunded, found coelacanths live five times longer than once predicted. Prior to this discovery, marine ecologists believed the behemoths lived to the age of 20, which would have classified them as one of the fastest-growing aquatic species. Now, ecologists believe they could reach the ripe old age of 100, a relatively rare feat.

To scientists who know the bizarre creatures, a long lifespan actually isn’t a huge surprise. Characteristics like a slow metabolism, low oxygen extraction capacity, producing small batches of eggs, and ovoviviparity, or when a mother carries eggs within their body until they are ready to hatch all hint at a slow-growing, long-lasting life.

[Related: Animal Crossing’s most elusive fish has a bizarre real-life backstory.]

“That extremely fast growth rate once believed was extremely strange compared to other characteristics [of coelacanths],” Bruno Ernande, a marine ecologist at the French Marine Institute and co-author of the study says. “It was not fitting the picture. So this is why we decided to reinvestigate the age range of coelacanths.”  

Uncovering secret growth rings 

To determine the age of a fish, scientists count growth rings on their scales, much like tallying the rings of a tree trunk. Each ring corresponds to one year of life. 

Past studies observed these growth rings with reflected light, like that found in a flashlight. However, Ernande and his colleagues utilized a more modern technology called polarized light which increases the contrast between the rings. 

In total, the researchers examined 27 preserved specimens across varying ages and sex. The youngest were embryos and the oldest was 84-years-old.

“What we found when we used this different technique is that there were nearly imperceptible rings that originally went unnoticed,” Ernande says. For each bigger, thicker ring, he and his team found five faint ones. “So this is basically how we came to the conclusion that the age of coelacanths was underestimated by a factor of five.” 

Thus, coelacanths may be able to live to the ripe old age of 100, and they don’t reach sexual maturity until their forties to sixties. And the animals don’t just live long lives—the aquatic giants have a gestation period of 5 years, which is possibly the longest of any marine fish and a decent chunk longer than most mammals

[Related: ‘Living Fossil’ Fish Has Lungs.]

Ernande says his team is uncertain why every coelacanth specimens deposit bold bands every fifth year. They know it’s not due to environmental factors since the ribbons weren’t uniform across species, but it may have something to do with the five-year cycles of reproduction. However, this is entirely speculative, he says.  

Why age isn’t just a number 

Fishing, channel dredging, submarine blasting, and deep-water port construction, all threaten coelacanths, classifying the creatures as endangered and threatening their 360-million-year run on the planet.  

Plus, species with a slow reproductive rate, such as coelacanths and the great ape, are particularly vulnerable to environmental or man-made changes. While some fish can carry over a million eggs per gestation, Ernande says, coelacanths only carry around 20 on top of being slow to mature and gestate.

“Any accidental or human-caused death takes a very long-time to replace,” Ernande says. 

Understanding the true life span of these living fossils is essential for assessing the demography of the species, which, in turn, can inform conservation policy. 

“There’s a lot more to be discovered about this species,” Ernande says. 

Grace Wade

Author: Sara Kiley Watson
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Key Driver of Fish Oil's Antidepressant Effects Revealed

A key molecular mechanism underpinning the anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and neuroprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids has been identified.  

In findings that could lead to the development of new treatments for depression, the research provides the “first evidence” that hippocampal neurons are able to produce two key lipid metabolites of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — lipoxygenase and cytochrome P450, lead investigator Alessandra Borsini, PhD, told Medscape Medical News.

This is how EPA and DHA exert their anti-inflammatory and neurogenic properties in vitro, as well as antidepressant properties in patients with depression, said Borsini, from King’s College London, United Kingdom.

“Indeed, we found evidence for a correlation between increased levels of these metabolites and a decrease in severity of depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder,” Borsini said.

The study was published online June 16 in Molecular Psychiatry.

“Depression in a Dish”

Despite the known role of inflammation in depression, there remains a lack of data showing anti-inflammatory strategies that are effective, safe for everyday use, and with a clear mechanism of action, the researchers note.  

Borsini and colleagues tested the theory that when EPA and DHA are metabolized, some of their metabolites, or lipid mediators, can protect the brain from the harmful effects of inflammation. They used a validated “depression in a dish” in vitro human hippocampal cell model to test their theory.

They found that treating human hippocampal cells with EPA or DHA before exposing them to cytokines prevented increased cell death and decreased neurogenesis. Both these impacts had been previously observed in cells exposed to cytokines alone.

They confirmed that these effects were mediated by the formation of several key lipid mediators produced by EPA and DHA — namely hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid, hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid, epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (EpETE), and epoxydocosapentaenoic acid (EpDPA).

It’s the first time these lipid mediators were detected in human hippocampal neurons, the researchers say.

They also found that treating the neurons with an enzyme inhibitor increased the availability of two of these metabolites (EpETE and EpDPA), suggesting a possible way by which future treatments could be optimized.

The findings were replicated in 22 patients with major depression given either EPA (3 g/day) or DHA (1.4 g/day) for 12 weeks. In both groups, EPA or DHA treatment was associated with an increase in their respective metabolites and significant improvement in depressive symptoms.

The average reduction in symptom scores was 64% and 71% in the EPA and DHA groups, respectively, and there was some evidence that higher levels of the same metabolites correlated with less severe depressive symptoms.

“For some time we have known that omega-3 [polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)] can induce antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effects but, without further understanding of how this happens in the human brain, it has been difficult to develop treatments,” Borsini said in a news release.

“Our study has helped shine a light on the molecular mechanisms involved in this relationship which can inform the development of potential new treatments for depression using omega-3 PUFA,” Borsini added.

“We need to be cautious when interpreting data generated from the correlation between levels of metabolites and depressive symptoms as findings require further validation in a bigger sample of patients,” Borsini said.

“It is important to highlight that our research has not shown that by simply increasing omega-3 fatty acids in our diets or through taking nutritional supplements we can reduce inflammation or depression,” study author Carmine Pariante, MD, PhD, from King’s College London, said in the news release.

The mechanisms behind the associations between depression and omega-3 PUFA are complicated and require further research and clinical trials to fully understand how they work and inform future therapeutic approaches,” Pariante said.

No Clinical Implications

Weighing in on this research in a Science Media Centre statement, Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, said, “The point of the study was to throw some light on the mechanisms in the body by which omega-3 fatty acids might work to reduce inflammation or depression.”

“The research mostly involved cells in laboratory dishes, but it also involved treating a small sample of patients with major depression by giving them supplements of one or other of the two omega-3 acids under investigation for 12 weeks,” he noted.

“The researchers found that the patients’ average scores on a standard set of questions, used to diagnose and measure depression, improved over that 12-week period, for each of the two fatty acids.

While depression symptoms improved over 12 weeks with omega-3 fatty acid treatment, “depression symptoms change over time anyway, for many reasons” and depressive symptoms might have improved over 12 weeks even if the patients had not been given the omega-3 acids, McConway said.

“We just can’t tell since every patient got omega-3 fatty acids. So these results can hint that omega-3 fatty acids might help in depression, but it comes nowhere near showing that this is the case with a reasonable degree of certainty,” he cautioned.

“Indeed the researchers did not carry out this part of their study to see whether the omega-3 supplements help with depression — they did it to see whether the biochemical changes that they had seen in cell cultures in the lab might also occur in human bodies,” he noted.

Mol Psychiatry. Published online Jun 16, 2021. Full text

This research was funded in part by grants to the investigators from the UK Medical Research Council, the European Commission Horizon 2020, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. Borsini has received research funding from Johnson & Johnson for research on depression and inflammation. McConway is a trustee of the Science Media Centre and a member of its advisory committee.

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

This rare ‘Finding Nemo’ fish mysteriously washed up on a California beach

Mouth agape, revealing rows of small but deadly fangs. A limb-like protrusion extending out of a black, prickly body. This is how beachgoer Ben Estes found a “weird looking” fish on the shores of Newport Beach at Crystal Cove State Park in California last week.

Estes alerted state park rangers and lifeguards to his find, who in turn alerted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I knew it was an unusual find,” Estes told the Guardian. “I have never seen a fish that looked like that before.”

The bizarre sea creature turned out to be a 18-inch female Pacific Footballfish, a species of anglerfish similar to the notorious one-time villain from Finding Nemo. As shown in the movie, each anglerfish has a fleshy, long dorsal fin called an illicium that extends in the front of the mouth. The bioluminescent bulb on the end of the illicium emits light to attract unsuspecting prey. 

Pacific Footballfish ordinarily dwell in the pitch-black depths of the deep sea, as far as 3,000 feet below the surface, according to a Facebook post from Crystal Cove State Park.  Authorities haven’t yet determined how the monstrous fish died. But they were surprised its body managed to stay so intact while coming all the way up to the surface. It’s not unheard of for deep-sea dwellers to occasionally make their way to our beaches. But it’s still very rare.

The anglerfish is not a rare species itself, Bill Ludt, assistant curator of ichthyology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told the LA Times. It’s one of the more well-understood creatures of the deep ocean. But, “it’s not something that comes up too often, especially in the condition that it’s in.”

[Related: Five animals you shouldn’t take relationship advice from (and one you should)]

John Ugoretz of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the LA Times that, as of Monday morning, the fish was frozen at Crystal Cove State Park. State officials were still determining where the specimen would ultimately end up. He told the Guardian that it will likely be transferred to the Natural History Museum of LA County. The museum has just three others in its collection, but none are as well preserved. 

“Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface in California’s [marine protected areas],” reads the post from Crystal Cove State Park. “As scientists continue to learn more about these deep sea creatures it’s important to reflect on how much is still to be learned from our wonderful ocean.”

Author: Monroe Hammond
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Aldi makes big change to its fish fridges to support British fishing industry

From tomorrow, May 13, Aldi customers will be given the opportunity to try British fish at value prices. The various species of fish are sourced from the southern English coast, not far from cities such as Plymouth.
Aldi’s new fish range was sourced from hundreds of independent fishermen working off the southern coast of England who sell their catches at fish markets in locations like Plymouth, Brixham, and Newlyn.

The range will be made available thanks to Aldi’s partnership with Plymouth-based fish supplier Sound Seafood.

Alison Pessell, Auctioneer at Plymouth Fish Market, commented on the move and described it as a “real lifeline” for the fishing industry.

She said: “This is a fantastic boost for our fishing community as it represents a real lifeline for our crews.

“In more normal times, much of the native fish caught off the South West coastline is destined for restaurants across the UK and Europe, so the fact that they’ve been closed for much of the past year has been devastating.

“We’ve worked hard to find other buyers for our fish, with some suppliers delivering boxes of fish directly to customers’ homes.

The response has been fantastic, with consumers recognising the quality and variety of fish landed in our ports.

“Now Aldi has stepped in at a crucial time providing the opportunity to connect customers directly with British fish supplied from our coastal communities.”

Ms Pessell continued: “This is a substantial new market opportunity. Aldi has recognised the efforts made every day by our fishermen and women in the UK and is able to now share restaurant quality fish with Aldi customers to enjoy at home.”

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, added: “At Aldi, we’re committed to supporting British food producers.

“With so many challenges facing the British fishing industry, we spoke to our suppliers to see what we could do to help.

“We’re delighted to be able to purchase this seasonal fish stock that might otherwise go to waste, and it’s great for customers too who’ll be able to enjoy restaurant quality seasonal fish at Aldi prices.”

The Dover Sole will be the first fish species in the Specialbuy range to be launched tomorrow, May 13, while other catches will be hitting shelves next month and in July.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Was a 240-Pound, 7-Foot-Long, 100-Year-Old Fish Found in Detroit River

On April 30, 2021, the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation office — a branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — shared news on Facebook of a “once in a lifetime” catch:

real life river monsterA once in a lifetime catch for our Detroit River native species crew last week! This real life river monster was tipping the scales at 240 lbs, measuring 6’10” long, and a girth of nearly 4′. Caught in the Detroit River, this fish is one of the largest lake sturgeon ever recorded in the U.S.

Based on its girth and size, it is assumed to be a female and that she has been roaming our waters over 100 years. So, she likely hatched in the Detroit River around 1920 when Detroit became the 4th largest city in America.

This fish was returned to the river after being processed by scientists from the Alpena office. That office, according to its website, deals with “conservation, restoration and management of the fishery resources of the Great Lakes Basin.” The sturgeon catch was part of that office’s native species restoration efforts:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission is to preserve and restore native species. This is done by acquiring biological information on native species’ population status/trends, habitat availability/quality, controlling nuisance species and conserving habitat through protection, restoration and management. Restoration of native fish species and promoting healthy fish communities is a priority for the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.

Determining the age of a lake sturgeon is not an exact science. In the past, scientists have determined the age of these fish using relationships between certain scales or bones in a fish and its known age. While some of these methods have been further validated using radiocarbon dates, any age estimate will come with uncertainty, and that uncertainty increases with age.

Other more basic approaches have been created based on those aforementioned aging techniques. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), for example, has created a simple chart that estimates age based only on length (from the sturgeon’s nose tip to the end of the dorsal lobe of the tail) and girth (the maximum circumference on the sturgeon’s body). Using this approach, an 82-inch long fish with a maximum girth of 48 inches is literally off the chart.

The closest approximation on that table would be an 80-inch-long, 35-inch-wide fish. Such a fish, according to the Michigan DNR, would have an estimated age of 153. Unfortunately, these numbers come with a great deal of uncertainty when you get to the larger end of the scale. What is certain, however, is that this is a huge old fish.

“We don’t know the exact age of the fish,” Justin Chiotti, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, told the Detroit Free Press. “But, to be 7-foot long and 240 pounds, the fish was likely 100 years old or older, and I think that’s a minimum estimate, but I didn’t want to get too crazy.” An age of 100 years or so would put the fish’s birthday somewhere in the administration of either U.S. President Woodrow Wilson or his successor Warren G. Harding.

Because the fish’s size was confirmed by the scientists who captured it, and because there is a solid scientific rationale for concluding a fish of this size would be a century or more old, the claim that someone caught a 7-foot-long, 240-pound, centenarian fish in the Detroit River is “True.”

Author: Alex Kasprak
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Sainsbury's makes major change to berries and fresh fish products – here's what to know

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed

Supermarkets have been making changes to help their stores become more sustainable. Sainsbury’s has shared how it will cut back on single use plastic in stores.

It comes as part of the supermarkets pledge to cut back on plastic use throughout the store.

Sainsbury’s aims to halve the amount of plastic packaging used by 2025.

It will do this by making it easier for customers to make more sustainable choices in stores.

Director of Product, Packaging and Innovation at Sainsbury’s Claire Hughes said: “Using Prevented Ocean Plastic is one change we’re making to our supply chain to help us remove, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic.

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“Not only will it have a positive environmental impact by preventing plastic from polluting the ocean, but it will also have an important social impact by allowing our customers to make sustainable choices and support overseas coastal communities at risk of ocean plastic pollution.”

UK Division Director for Sharpak Patrick Gautier added: “I’d like to thank Sainsbury’s for identifying and embracing this real and positive action to reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution, support coastal collection communities and to help educate consumers that plastic is a valuable resource that can be recycled and not to be littered into environment.”

The supermarket giant recently made another change to packaging as it aims to reduce plastic.

Sainsbury’s stated it will remove plastic straws from its own branch lunchbox juice cartons.

By doing this, the retailer will remove 18.5 million plastic straws from circulation each year.

This gives customers a more eco-friendly way to grab a drink on the go.

It also announced it is trying to find alternative materials to replace the plastic sleeve for straws.

The supermarket is likely to continue to update packaging in stores as it aims to become more sustainable.

Claire Hughes continued: “As we work to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic packaging, we’re committed to trialling and testing innovative new packaging alternatives for our products.

“Removing 18.5 million straws from circulation each year is a huge achievement and brings us closer to our goal.

“Looking forward, we will continue to work closely with our suppliers, manufacturers, customers and other retailers to reduce the amount of single use plastic across the supply chain, whilst also investing in research and development of materials and technologies.

“We look forward to listening to feedback from our colleagues and customers about this latest packaging move.”

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