Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Nature Live > Nature Live > Blog > Tags > fish

Nature Live

5 Posts tagged with the fish tag
0

At about midday my mind drifts from the numerous emails and office politics and starts to consider my lunch options. Do I fancy a hot meal, a quick sandwich, healthy salad or maybe something a little more exotic? Sushi perhaps? Well not after speaking to Eileen Harris who works on parasitic worms! She’s doing a Nature Live event on the 31st August and I just met her to find out more about what her work involves. It’s fascinating, but you do need a strong, and preferably empty, stomach.

 

Parasitic worms live in everything from the largest whale to the smallest insects. Eileen will be bringing out a whole host (no pun intended!) of parasites to the event including her personal favourite, Eric; the 7m long tapeworm…definitely not one to be missed!

 

Back to sushi and let me introduce you to Anisakis simplex. This marine roundworm can be found in fish, eel and octopus and when you eat raw, unprepared seafood you could be also be swallowing live larval forms of this parasite. Needless to say once inside your system you’re going to know about it but the good news is that they usually die after a few weeks.

 

If, like myself, you’re a big sushi fan then rest assured that high-street sushi is safe as chefs are trained to identify these little parasites but they’re definitely something to look out for if you’re making it at home. Luckily Anisakis simplex is visible to the naked eye so happy hunting!

 

4-S05A_010.jpg

Above: Anisakis simplex is commonly known as "herringworm"

0

Richard Sabin from our Mammal Department uses microscopes to identify whether products siezed by HM Revenue & Customs have been made from protected species such as elephant and rhino.  But scientists elsewhere use DNA to identify species - such as in this film which shows how shark fins can be tested and the species of shark identified.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHCzdQHre1U

 

sharksml.jpg

0

What fish have your eaten in the last month? If it includes Cod, Salmon, Tuna or Haddock, then you are not alone! These are the most commonly eaten fish in the UK, and our appetite for them is putting pressure on their survival.

 

We are often told we should eat two portions of fish a week, as it's a really nutritious food, but at the same time warned that some fish are severely over-fished, that their stock levels are dangerously low, and that several species should be listed as endangered!

 

So what are people supposed to do?

 

This was the focus or our Nature Live Nights evening event, on Thursday 28th January, also a 4SEAS event.

 

Well, there were lots of suggestions from our speakers. Oliver Crimmen, one of the foremost fish experts at the Natural History Museum, stated that there actually lots of different types of edible fish out there - by widening the types of fish we eat, and not just sticking to the same four main ones, that could help take the pressure off. However, we do need to have a good understanding of the ecology of our new choices.

 

                                                   280110_0069.jpg

               Jo from the Billingsgate Seafood Training School prepared some delicious samples for our taste test - results up soon!

 

 

Tim Ferrero and Geoff Boxshall, also from the Zoology Department, talked about checking how your fish was caught, and also the aquaculture or fish farming option - with the global human population set to soar, could this be an answer?

 

Background to the quota system, and possible options at a governmental level were the focus of both Dr Kenneth Patterson from the European Commision, and Zoe Hodgson from DEFRA.

 

And finally, sustainability, eco labels, and how consumers can make a difference by Tom Pickerell, from the Shellfish Association of Great Britain. There are lots of different eco labels out there for fish - Tom recommends the Marine Stewardship Council stamp, as it takes into account lots of different considerations including stock levels, fish ecology, and how they are caught.

 

So next time you fancy some fish and chips, try a different fish (Coley was very popular in our taste test!) and check to see whether your fish has the MCS seal of approval.

0

Here in Nature Live we never miss an opportunity to celebrate and Halloween is no exception.  

 

Today we were on a mission to find the scariest creature in the sea. It was a face-off between Ollie Crimmen, fish curator, and Jon Ablett, mollusc curator, and it got pretty competitive in the studio!  

 

Both of them chose some 'scary' sea creatures and had to convince our audience to vote for them. Who had the power to scare? 

 

Jon chose to advocate the Geography Cone Snail, which looks harmless enough, and Ollie went with the angler fish. 

Conus-geographicus.jpg

Image credit: Kerry Matz

Above: Jon chose the venomous cone snail

 

Jon explained that although it looks unassuming do not underestimate this snail. To catch its prey it shoots a harpoon which contains venom so potent that it could kill a human. Some say that it could be the most venomous creature in the world in relation to its size.  

 

Ollie chose the angler fish which definitely got the desired 'wow' effect when he revealed an impressive specimen that has been kept in alcohol for 15 years. He tried to win over the audience by explaining that these creatures live in the deep dark oceans and if you were the poor little fish it had lined up for lunch all you’d see are a few pretty lights and then it's lights out...for you.

 

Dying to find out who was crowned our Halloween winner? Well, no surprises for guessing that fangs beat the snail but if my vote counts for anything I would have chosen the deadly snail! 

 

Do you know any really scary sea creatures? And no, the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t count...

 

football fish.JPG

Image © Natural History Museum

Above: The football fish that won Ollie the game

 


0

 

Today Ollie Crimmen, the Museum’s  curator of fish, came into the studio to help us test the space with a new show  about the Great White Shark. Among other questions, we were asking whether Great  Whites could ever be found in British waters.

 

Ollie brought in a famous specimen  of a Great White’s jaw, which was originally reported as coming from a 36 foot  shark, though subsequent analysis by the Museum estimates it at about 25 feet –  still an awesome size. The specimen demonstrates the incredible rows of spare  teeth that Great Whites have lined up inside their jaw. If a tooth is lost the  next one in line just folds up to take its place.

 

Great Whites also have tiny teeth  all over their skin. This reduces drag as they swim, which has been copied by  the designers of the body suits that swimmers wear in competition these days.

 

So could Great Whites be found in  British Waters? Well there are around 40 -45 species of shark that can already  be spotted off the British coast. The most common is the amazing basking shark,  which filters plankton through its huge mouth. However, none of the reports and  grainy photos of supposed Great Whites in Britain have  been verified by the Museum thus far.

 

But just when you thought it was  safe to go the water, Ollie pointed out that there’s no reason why Great Whites  couldn’t come here: the water temperature would be ok for them, they’d be able  to live from eating seals, and getting here wouldn’t be difficult. In fact one  tagged Great White was recorded as travelling from South Africa to Australia and back in 9 days! So they  have no problem swimming huge distances. Think about that next time you take a  trip to the seaside.

 

 

Links:

 

Jaws: the natural  History of Sharks

All about sharks, from the natural  History Museum website

 

British Shark  Trust (external link)

A UK  charity that promotes the conservation of sharks

sam-sharks-jaw-1.jpg
A Nature Live fan gets close to the famous Great White jaw specimen