A turbulent, bizarre and downright strange year for fish, our list of the Top Ten Fish Stories of 2010 will have you scratching your head, wiping away tears and laughing all in one sitting. To hold you over until 2011, we put together the wildest and most comprehensive list of fish stories. So sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Top Ten Fish Stories of 2010
Nothing affected fish more strongly in 2010 than the BP Gulf Oil Spill . Going down in history as the worst man-made ecological disaster in antiquity, the repercussions of this tragedy are truly stunning. According to the official report released January 1, 2011 by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, “Organisms are exposed to oil through ingestion, filtration, inhalation, absorption, and fouling.” With ecological and economical losses proving difficult to pinpoint exactly, 2010 will nonetheless go down in the fish-histories as a time of great doom, death and terrible loss.
Making a strong statement for endangered and extinct species the world over, the Lake Saiko salmon reemerged from the pages of history in 2010. Thought to be extinct for over half a century, the “kunimasu” or “black kokanee” salmon materialized from the murky beyond, laying testament to the true adaptability of this remarkable species. Like the infamous snail darter fish of the Tellico Dam controversy, the black kokanee baffled researchers and proved once again that life always finds a way. Look also to salmon in Alaskaand Derbyshire England for inspiration – both species experiencing respective rebounds in 2010. We’ll have to get one of these guys in an aquarium, just in case they try to run off on us again!
In 2010, high-fiving a fish became possible for the first time with the discovery of a mysterious “pink handfish” off the Australian island of Tasmania. Walking with its fins rather than swimming, this fish marks an exciting chapter in the voluminous and burgeoning book of “unknowns” discovered in the world’s oceans to date. Indeed, on the weird-o-meter, this fish gives the angler fish (with its spooky, head-dangling light bulb) a run for its money.
The Bluefin Tuna has been in the news at every turn in 2010. Between the BP oil spill and over-fishing sparking controversy in the EU, this species of fish should be on every fish-aficionados mind.
Although mammals, dolphins made a statement in 2010 that spoke volumes about the difference between mammalian brains and those of fish. In the wake of the BP oil spill, unlike sea turtles or fish, dolphins showed their smarts by swimming away from deadly oil plumes. What does this tell us about fish? Simply put, fish need more help in a human dominated world, which should in good conscience influence policy-making in the coming years.
Try squeezing one of these suckers into a fish tank and you might have the makings of a freak show on your hands! One of 38 species discovered around Greenland since 1992, the “longhead dreamer” anglerfish came seemingly screaming off the pages of your favorite science fiction novel in 2010 to send chills up the spines of people worldwide. Not only does this fish look like a monster found on a 14th Century sea map, it illustrates the vastness of the true “final frontier” – the Earth’s mysterious and largely unexplored oceans. Knowing more about the surface of the moon than about our own oceans, this species has shown mankind that we have only scraped the surface on what lies beneath the briny beyond. So Bigfoot, move aside! There are countless species yet to be discovered beneath the world’s waves.
Calling to mind the archetypal image of a mad scientist bringing a new species to life —“It’s Alive! It’s Alive”—“Transgenic salmon” made their real debut in 2010 as mankind’s most recent installment in a long line of playing god. Modified by scientists for human consumption, what was once an Atlantic salmon has been spliced with the DNA of two other fish species to create a hybrid that reaches full size in just half the time of a regular salmon. One has to wonder, is this exciting, or just plain scary?
Mankind’s interest in missing links led to the repeal of longstanding Darwinian Theory pertaining to a species of hybrid that formerly spanned the gap between tetrapods and fish. A Tiktaalik fossil that was once accepted as the missing link between fish and tetrapods was recently supplanted for an even older fossil discovered in Poland of tetrapod tracks that tell quite a different story. This new evidence has effectively set scientists back to their laboratories, searching for the true missing link between fish and tetrapods.
People are finding new and surprisingly simple solutions to battle invasive fish species in the Florida Keys. A rising star in the invasive fish ranks, the lionfish has overtaken the warm, pristine waters of the Florida Keys in 2010. In the words of the Associated Press, people in the Keys are taking the tact, “If you can’t beat them, eat them,” with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation most notably releasing “The Lionfish Cookbook.” Now, if we could only find a way to make the zebra mussel or lamprey eel appetizing, we would really be in business.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger, enter the infamous Snakehead fish of Australia. Sure, we’ve all seen scary looking fish before, but before now, we only worried about them in the water. That’s right, this invasive species, known to inhabit Oceania, is worried to make landfall in Australia if action isn’t taken to curb the spread of this strange beast. So what makes this species so strange? It’s a fish that can breathe air and hunt on land. Enough said.