Historically, spearfishing involved a diver, a harpoon (or spear or trident) and access to an abundant source of fish. However, it has evolved over the centuries—especially within the last few decades—to include boats, masks, snorkeling gear, scuba tanks, wet suits and even spearguns. The modernization of equipment means divers are able to stay underwater for hours and fire mechanically propelled spears at faster rates than a person is able to throw. The result, in theory, is a more fruitful catch.
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Terence Houston.
An oil slick originating from a rig about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, which is dumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of approximately 25,000 barrels per day, is drifting toward the Alabama, Florida and Louisiana coasts, and scientists are still assessing the ecological impact that will result. In the Q&A below, three members of the Ecological Society of America’s Rapid Response Team discuss the current and possible future damage of this spill and the effects it could have on the Gulf region.
Just off the coast of Peru, the Humboldt Current produces one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet. Humans and animals alike have based their livelihood on the abundance of marine life that results from the deep, nutrient-rich waters of this coastal upwelling. Seabirds, which gather in massive groups off the coast to prey on schools of fish, have been completely sustained, until recently: Anchovy decline from overfishing and El Nino’s warmer waters have led to a major drop in seabird populations. One resilient bird, however, has held steady due to its solitary hunting style.