With their massive wingspans and high speed, albatrosses fly across the seas in search of food. That's why marine ornithologist Henri Weimerskirch of the French National Center for Scientific Research calls the birds the “sentinels of the sea" and is using them to survey the ocean for illegal fishing boats. Apparently, the operators of these vessels frequently turn off their automatic identification system (AIS) that broadcasts who they are and their location. From Katherine J. Wu's article in Smithsonian:
(Weimerskirch) and his colleagues have outfitted nearly 200 albatrosses with tiny GPS trackers that detect radar emissions from suspicious ships, allowing the birds to transmit the locations of fishers in the midst of illicit acts...
The range of these signals isn’t big enough to be reliably picked up by stations on shore, keeping the ships’ movements mostly discreet. Radar can be detected within a few miles of the vessel itself, however—as long as something, or someone, can get close enough...
Over the course of six months, the team’s army of albatrosses surveyed over 20 million square miles of sea. Whenever the birds came within three or so miles of a boat, their trackers logged its coordinates, then beamed them via satellite to an online database that officials could access and cross-check with AIS data. Of the 353 fishing vessels detected, a whopping 28 percent had their AIS switched off—a finding that caught Weimerskirch totally off guard.
"Ocean sentinel albatrosses locate illegal vessels and provide the first estimate of the extent of nondeclared fishing" (PNAS)
image: "Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) in flight, East of the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia." Read the rest
I did not know how much joy ice fishing in Kazakhstan could possibly bring me until I watched this video of an amazing and talented fisherman in the icy-cold former Soviet republic fish through the ice like a damn boss. Read the rest
This 350 pound Warsaw grouper was caught with a hook and line off the coast of southwest Florida a couple weeks back. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the fish was caught in about 600 feet of water. From CNN:
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"Biologists from (the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute) Age & Growth Lab estimated the age of this fish at 50 years old, making this the oldest sample collected for our ageing program," the FWC said. "Acquiring the otolith from this fish was extremely valuable as samples from larger and older fish are rare."
Otoliths are the hard structures located behind the brain of bony fishes, according to the FWC. They help fish hear, maintain balance and orient themselves. Scientists use the growth structure of otoliths to estimate a fish's age.
Warsaw groupers can grow to a length of 7.5 feet and weight of 580 pounds. The record for the largest one caught in Florida is nearly 440 pounds...
The FWC said it "does not encourage the targeting of Warsaw grouper," as the species' population in the Gulf of Mexico isn't known.
A man using a magnet to fish for salvageable items in Ocala, Florida was surprised to reel in a hand grenade. So he tossed it into his trunk and made a run for the border. As one does.
Upon arriving at the nearest Taco Bell, the fellow called the police who were quick to evacuate the restaurant. Fortunately, the bomb squad safely removed the explosive device. They later determined it to be an unexploded World War II grenade.
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From first sketches to first bass caught, watch Nate Marling create a fishing lure that looks and moves like a cricket. Read the rest
Not today, fisherman, not today. Read the rest
Terry Selwood, 73, was fishing near Evans Head, New South Wales, Australia when a nine-foot great white shark jumped onto the deck of his boat.
"I caught a blur of something coming over the boat … and the pectoral fin of the shark hit me on the forearm and knocked me down on the ground to my hands and knees," Selwood told ABC. "He came right over the top of the motor and then dropped onto the floor... There I was on all fours and he's looking at me and I'm looking at him and then he started to do the dance around and shake and I couldn't get out quick enough onto the gunnel."
According to the Evans Head Marine Rescue Unit, they arrived to find the shark on the on the boat and Selwood "covered in blood with numerous lacerations on his right forearm."
Selwood received stitches and is now fine. The dead shark was delivered to the Department of Primary Industries for study.
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Ned Desmond shares the scary story of how a small site he managed that advertised fishing expeditions ended up with 565,192 scam pages. He also suggests five ways to avoid the same fate. Read the rest
"The alligator's coming, Connor! The alligator's coming!"
(Bass Masters and Fish Experts) Read the rest
His tool of choice: a DIY wrench lure. It's a wrench, string, and two fishing hooks. With only this tool, Florida man Ryan Hein was able to reel in a 400-pound Goliath grouper while fishing in the St. Petersburg area. Read the rest
“Did I get one?” Um, yeah. Yeah you did, Avery! What a beautiful loving moment between a dad and his daughter. If this doesn't make you smile, you should probably go fishing because it would probably cheer you up. And if this video is later revealed to be deep stealth sponsored content for Barbie, fine, man. Barbie, you win.
[Ram Mehta] Read the rest
I believe this to be very likely faked, but nonetheless fantastic. Read the rest
Vitaly Petrukhin says: "In Taiwan in the downtown Keelung, from the terrace of his apartment, a man managed to catch a fish with a fishing pole while the animal is several tens of meters down in a small river. When he feels that he has made, man rewinds the wire on the reel and seems very happy with his decision."
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Amazing video of dolphins that have learned how to dine in style. This hunting behavior, according to Discovery, hasn't been found in any other pod on Earth.
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A fisher in China's Fujian province hauling home his catch of the day, a giant whale shark that reportedly weighed two tons and was 16 feet long. Read the rest
"Kristjan Loftsson, CEO of the the company Hvalur hf." Photo: News of Iceland.
Icelandic news outlets are reporting that an Icelandic whaling company, Hvalur hf, "caught its first fin whale yesterday evening," after sailing out yesterday with two boats, both due back in port today.
Fin whales are the second-largest whale, and are classified as an Endangered species.
From News of Iceland: Read the rest