Skip to main content

The Herring Song

For all the fish that are in the sea, the herring is the fish for me!  These are the words of a song my mother used to sing, and the whole family would join in the chorus.  But how many fish are in the sea? 

Estimates of the numbers of fish in the oceans vary, of course. How could it be an exact measure? One figure given by scientists places the number of fish in the ocean at 3,500,000,000,000.  That is a lot of fish? 

So, what about 'the fish for me', the herring? Archaeologists counting herring bones  along North America's west coast recently found evidence that herring that had been abundant for thousands of years. 

 Like so many, they are in decline due to overfishing.  Herring collapse has signifcant knock-on effects both for humans and for ecological balance.  Over time, there have been serveral periodic collapses.  Sometimes the recovery has been slow. 

Herring is the fish for me could be a standard for seabirds, With loss of fish such as herring, the seabird population is dramatically affected.  This is certainly so for the Western Grebe that dive for carp, herring, mollusks, crabs, and amphibians, such as salamanders.  But not only does the Western Grebe suffer from loss of a major fish source, it's breeding is also impacted by human activity.  Little wonder then that the population of the Western Grebe is in decline.  

A broader food chain is also detrimentally affected by overfishing.   Killer whales eat seals that eat herring. By blowing bubbles,  Humpback whales confuse the fish before eating them. 

So, is this what the Herring song is about? Not exactly.  The song my mum sang was about the uses we could put herring to. 

Photo by Jet Kim on Unsplash

The Herring Song Clip

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement