Why Does a Fish Need to Find a New Home?

Do you know how much your car weighs? No? Me neither. (Or is it me either?) I mean who knows those kinds of things?! Oh, wait … you do know? Well, aren’t you clever.

The average car weighs a little more than 4,000 pounds, or two tons. (One ton is 2,000 pounds—look, you learned something today. You’re welcome.) Any idea how much a great white shark weighs? (Yes, I am going somewhere with this.) About 2,000 pounds, give or take a mere 500 pounds. A lion, more than 400 pounds. An elephant … well, it depends on the kind of elephant, but an Asian elephant tips the scale around 12,000 pounds, or 6 tons.

So, imagine the sunfish … the ocean sunfish not the sunfish by any other name like bluegill, bream, pond perch, etc. Any idea how big the ocean sunfish is? No? Oh, good … then you’ll learn something else today …

The ocean sunfish typically tips the scale at a little over 2,000 pounds!

A new species weighing over two tons has been discovered and researchers have dubbed the giant fish, the “Hoodwinker” due to its elusiveness. The name, derived from the Latin word “tectus,” meaning disguised or hidden, fits the solitary animal’s lifestyle but considering its range and size, it’s hard to imagine it will dupe mankind for much longer.

Oh wait … that’s the point of this post … it’s not duping us so much anymore. In fact, it’s been spotted as recently as last year near in the Galapagos Norther Bay of Hood Island and has since been spotted near New Zealand, South Africa and even southern Chili. And why do we care? Because although it’s exciting to have identified a new species (it’s been over 130 years), thee reason we’re able to identify it is because it’s moving into territories where it’s never been. And the reason species move from one place to another isn’t so they can have a new “house” new neighbors or a walk-in closet, it’s because they NEED to move.

 “When you have a new species appearing in waters where it hasn’t been before its often indicative of a changing environment … changing very rapidly due to all of our impacts.” ~ Tierney Thys PhD Marine Biologist and Emerging Explorer

In other words, years of over fishing and unsustainable practices have altered the oceans so much that fish are moving. And that’s not a good thing.

So what can we do about it? Stop littering in the oceans. Stop the using single-use water bottles. Stop being ignorant about the seafood you eat and start asking questions. Start recycling more. Start frequenting restaurants and grocery chains that purchase seafood from reliable sources—those that are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and or the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

Learn more about Marianne Nyegaard, a PHD student from Murdoch University in Perth, and her discovery of the massive Hoodwinker in this article by National Geographic.

And come back tomorrow to learn more about the sunfish species and which ones people catch, and cook, here in the Midwest.

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Photo Credit: By Per-Ola Norman

DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So this little blog is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. Here you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—like where to find the best seafood (and riverfish) in the Midwest. And some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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