Animals | February 25, 2023 11:23 AM | hangbony
There’s no need to avoid the harsh reality: tropical wolffish are not attractive. You can easily recognize it because it has sharp teeth but grows slowly, preventing it from growing rapidly. The wolffish uses those jagged teeth to bite through the shells of crabs, lobsters, and sea urchins, finding the delicious meat inside. The throat of the Atlatic wolffish also has its own set of serrated teeth.
But the ugly appearance does not keep people away from the fish; the number of wolffish is decreasing because people “accidentally” catch it excessively. Iroпically.
This wolffish weighs up to 22 kg.
Data In the 1980s, the amount of wolffish caught per year in the United States was 1,200 tons; by the 2000s, the amount of fish caught per year was only 30 tons.
UK data: Since 1889, the amount of Atlantic wolffish caught from trawl nets has decreased by 96%.
Wolffish are on the endangered list and on the verge of extinction in the Baltic Sea region.
The most surprising thing is that we did not catch the wolffish to eat, and no fisherman deliberately brought it back.
So why are their numbers constantly decreasing?
There are three reasons why the number of wolffish has dropped dramatically: overfishing, missed fishing nets, and trawling nets close to the sea floor have affected the fish’s habitat.
Wolves are classified as “overfished” because their bodies are too large and their reproductive age is too young; the time it takes for the number of fish to recover after being caught is too long, and the number of fish suffers as a result. The trawlers no longer catch wolffish, but that doesn’t mean they’re smart enough to avoid the net.
This fish likes to live in water as cold as 0.5 to 3 degrees Celsius, so they usually live on the sea floor—about 100 to 500 meters below sea level. Therefore, the wolffish is very often caught in the bottom trawl, and in most cases, the wolffish will die every time it is dragged like that.
“Atlantic wolffish live and feed on the seabed; they also “nest” there; they lay eggs in certain areas, and the male will be responsible for protecting the nest,” Chris Middleton, manager of a British fishing site, told Business Insider.
“Their habitat is very vulnerable to destruction by any means of fishing that reach the ocean floor.”
According to the Institute of Marine Conservation, sometimes 90% of the fish caught in bottom trawl nets are discarded fish with no economic value. Dredging and fishing heavily affect the marine ecosystem. This is a big reason why the number of Atlantic wolffish has dropped at an alarming rate.
The wolffish is on the brink of extinction due to accidental catches by fishermen. They are also not beautiful enough, like pandas or snow leopards, for people to notice and find ways to preserve them. Bad is not a sin; bad also needs to be preserved.
We don’t have to feel sorry for the wolffish because it has “good wood” properties that we admire.
To survive in very cold environments, wolffish produce anticoagulant proteins, allowing their blood to flow through the circulatory system.
Wolves change their teeth every year. Every few months, around the time when the teeth grow back, the wolffish either starves or looks for mollusks to eat temporarily.
And most importantly, Atlantic wolffish play a vital role in the ocean ecosystem, all thanks to their special diet. They regulate the number of blue crabs and sea urchins on the seabed. Without the wolffish, the marine ecosystem would be out of balance.
What have I done for the “bad fish”?
The answer is not much.
In 2008, researchers filed a petition with the federal government, calling for the protection of the Atlantic wolffish. That same year, the Canadian Ocean and Fishing Association launched a conservation strategy that included raising fishermen’s awareness about marine environmental protection and adjusting fishing habits.
“The information on wolffish populations is vastly lacking, and while it has been designated as a “species of concern,” more in-depth research is required to better understand wolffish, according to Sarah Rssell of the Blue Ocean Foundation. According to Ms. Russell, her organization is collaborating with the Voltary Marie Conservancy in Scotland to save many endangered Marie species, including the tlatic wolffish.
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