Something Fishy: Fossil fish catches could be bad news
Yo-ho-ho, me hearties. ‘Tis ye favorite pirate here with a quick news bit to satisfy yer cravin’. Me plundering sked is keepin’ me busy these days, and I gotta tell ye, wifi ain’t so great out here on the high seas.
That said, I’ve got a tale for ye about the African Coelacanth, an archaic (we’re talking tens of millions of years old) species long thought to be extinct until one was caught in South African waters in 1938. I’m pretty sure it was the “Lord God” of fish at the time.
Anyhoo, lately the coelacanth (now often called the “fossil fish”) has been caught in increasing numbers off the coast of Tanzania and other areas. These fishes normally live in deep-water canyons and cave systems, and scientists worry that the recent catch rates could actually be a bad sign.
Says Tony Ribbink (ha!), head of the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, “Fishermen are netting deeper than in the past because the shallow water resources are diminishing. These coelacanth catches are a sign of this.” Hm. Though I spose we thought it was extinct for so long … just kidding! Really!
The fish has changed little over the past 400 million years, making it a direct link with our distant past. It retains its fan-like tail and additional, limb-like fins, which have earned it the nick-name “Old Four Legs.”
Har har … arrr.