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Something fishy with the math
September 29, 2012 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Why did one newspaper, in a story copied by several other UK newspapers, somewhat underestimate the number of adult cod in the North Sea by a factor of...
posted by Wordshore (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
4x10^7, as far as I could tell
posted by unSane at 6:29 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it ghostbusters 2?
posted by found missing at 6:29 PM on September 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


in a story copied by several other UK newspapers

This is why newspapers used to employ editors.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:38 PM on September 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


I can haz fish & chips?
posted by spacewrench at 6:40 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


News of the Fishy.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:42 PM on September 29, 2012


yeah, so where is your cod now?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:01 PM on September 29, 2012 [29 favorites]


This is what happens when you're working for scale.
posted by hal9k at 7:05 PM on September 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'll miss the cod. They were delicious.


Thanks, cod.

Thod.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:11 PM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, they counted all the ones they could see, and came up with 97. So they rounded up to 100.
posted by pla at 7:12 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bah, I am often off by a few trillions of orders of magnitude. Amateurs.
posted by rainy at 7:16 PM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good news that the cod are returning. When I was young, about thirty years ago, there was this really superb fish and chips place that did these HUGE Icelandic cod fillets. We went there so, so many times. But the cod kept shrinking; they'd give you just as much total fish as before, but it would take more and more cod corpses to fill your plate. And that was thirty years ago, it must have gotten much, much worse.

Man, a big battered cod with tartar sauce -- oh god, that's good. I just hope so intensely that they can give the cod more time to recover, and then fish them responsibly. Kids a hundred years from now should be able to go out for a nice plate of fish and chips with their dads.

Dunno if they eat jellyfish, but if they do, leaving lots of them in the water should make the ocean a much more friendly place. Jellyfish are freaking everywhere now, growing like weeds because we eat their predators, and fertilize their food.
posted by Malor at 7:19 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Sunday Times chose to class an adult cod as aged over 13.

This is likely the result of an error in identifying cod.

The key thing to remember is that, while cod do have beards, they very rarely grow payos.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of beards, it sounds to me like the news room has too many suits and not enough beards.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:25 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


He says that although it is a reliable source of fish-related data, the idea that cod in the North Sea live to 25 is a bit of a red herring.

I see what you did there.
posted by phrontist at 7:29 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


FISH PUN
posted by rainy at 7:33 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ichthycod Crane, back from the dead!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:40 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Malor, it really is super easy to get hooked on good fish and chips.

Still looking for such a place in Vancouver though.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:40 PM on September 29, 2012


The trawlermen were furious..
The Atlantic cods stocks are in dire straits because of environmentally irresponsible and unsustainable modern industrial fishing practices, trawling being among the worst.
I'll be quite happy if I ever see a headline claiming that there are only 100 trawlers left.
posted by islander at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


Why? Just for the halibut, natch.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 PM on September 29, 2012


ok so overfishings not a thing anymore?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:00 PM on September 29, 2012


it really is super easy to get hooked on good fish and chips.
Still looking for such a place in Vancouver though.


Have you tried Go Fish? It certainly used to be the best in the city (oh, the salmon and chips...) but it looks as though they've made some changes in the past year (where's the salmon?) so I can't make a guarantee, but if you love fish and chips it might be worth a look.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:03 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Go Fish, but Pajos in Steveston or Mountain woman in Britannia Beach are the best I'd say.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:07 PM on September 29, 2012


Just 100. Finding Nomo.
posted by hal9k at 8:09 PM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


ok so overfishings not a thing anymore?

It still is for mackerel in the same area, at least.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:18 PM on September 29, 2012


The article doesn't mention another motivation behind Iceland suddenly increasing its mackerel quota from 2,000 tonnes to 146,000 - the decision was made by the Ministry of Fisheries at the time, which was head by a member of the Leftist-Greens who was probably the most vocally opposed to the EU in his party, at a time when Iceland is in accession talks.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:24 PM on September 29, 2012


malor: Dunno if they eat jellyfish, but if they do, leaving lots of them in the water should make the ocean a much more friendly place.

Maybe it's time to popularize jellyfish as food. (It's got a nice crunch to it.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2012


"It just makes my blood boil - 100 cod in the North Sea?" fumes Brian Buchan, who's been fishing in the North Sea for more than 30 years. "More like 100 million cod in the North Sea."

The last thing I want to do is further fume Brian Buchan, but the 100 number is about 60 million closer to the actual number of 21 million cod than his 100 million.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:34 PM on September 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


The author messed up because his editor was harassing him constantly for a rush deadline, "Where is my cod piece!?!"
posted by resurrexit at 8:36 PM on September 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Where is my cod piece!?!"

But the author couldn't figure out what he wanted.

As they say, the piece of cod passeth all understanding.
posted by zamboni at 9:14 PM on September 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


In the Arcto-Norwegian stocks of Atlantic cod the majority of the fish matured at 8–10 years in the 1930s but by the 1970s the majority of cod matured at 6 years (Borisov 1979). This decline has been attributed to a selective removal of late maturing cod from the population (Borisov 1979).
posted by Grimgrin at 9:21 PM on September 29, 2012


Well, 100 true cod. Purity of bloodline and all.
posted by mazola at 9:32 PM on September 29, 2012


by the 1970s the majority of cod matured at 6 years (Borisov 1979). This decline has been attributed to a selective removal of late maturing cod from the population (Borisov 1979).

Hey wait, maturity has been dropping in human females at a similar rate. Who has been overfishing the humans?!?!

It's aliens isn't it. Friggin' aliens.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:59 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If only MetaFilter could aspire to the tagline "a reliable source of fish-related data" like fishbase.org. I hope the new mod gets right on it.
posted by Abiezer at 11:18 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've got to be codding
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:51 AM on September 30, 2012


That's cod science.
posted by Segundus at 1:57 AM on September 30, 2012



Maybe it's time to popularize jellyfish as food. (It's got a nice crunch to it.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College


Peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches for everyone!

I cod, I cod.
posted by spitbull at 1:58 AM on September 30, 2012


So 21 million left? That's enough for a third of the UK population to have a north sea cod fish supper one evening this year.
posted by panaceanot at 4:12 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


21 million adult cod and 436,900,000 cod total. That's a lot of young cod.
posted by knapah at 4:37 AM on September 30, 2012


I knew those numbers were fishy. I can sea what the problem is though. They've got to stop coddling their reporters.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:43 AM on September 30, 2012


My maths is likely to be as terrible as some of the reporting, but that works out to mean that everyone in the UK could have a north sea cod meal of at least one fish (regardless of maturity) every night for a week and stocks are wiped out.

It's good to know that significant fish stocks remain, and the fish population is potentially strengthening, but still concerning.
posted by panaceanot at 4:45 AM on September 30, 2012


I love a good pun and appreciate the mix of humour and serious commentary on Metafilter.

... but it would be good if we could self-tag our comments as being one or the other when posting, with a filter to allow readers to sort them.
posted by panaceanot at 4:48 AM on September 30, 2012


seriously, if japanese food has taught me anything, jellyfish is delicious.
posted by cendawanita at 5:11 AM on September 30, 2012


So 21 million left? That's enough for a third of the UK population to have a north sea cod fish supper one evening this year.

Considering the location of the North Sea, is it safe to say that England is One Nation Under Cod?
posted by ersatz at 5:17 AM on September 30, 2012


hopefully the population will rebound recodless of whatever else happens.
posted by mephron at 5:19 AM on September 30, 2012


The scales have already tipped. To the roe boats everyone!
posted by spitbull at 5:46 AM on September 30, 2012


Cod we not have a serious discussion about fish stocks?
posted by panaceanot at 5:47 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a time and a plaice for all these fish jokes, and I'm not sure this is it.
posted by Wordshore at 5:51 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I've haddock up to here with them.
posted by unSane at 6:09 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


To get fish puns out of your system, I suggest just listening to this song, its got them all.
posted by 445supermag at 6:21 AM on September 30, 2012


What a load of pollocks. These pounds have no sole. I'm actually emba-wrassed for you.
posted by knapah at 6:21 AM on September 30, 2012


Salmon do something about all these fish puns.
posted by Drexen at 6:22 AM on September 30, 2012


Pounds should be puns. Now I'm floundering.
posted by knapah at 6:25 AM on September 30, 2012


Oh come on folks. I mean I appreciate puns as much as the next mefite, but it was be nice to get a really serious discussion of the issues here. Overloading the thread with linguistic wisecrackery ... it's just shellfish.
posted by iotic at 6:52 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey don't bring me into this.
posted by The Whelk at 7:12 AM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


but it was be nice to get a really serious discussion of the issues here

They just need a little time to get it trout of their system.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:16 AM on September 30, 2012


Le sigh. When submitting the FPP, I didn't expect the thread to flounder in this manner.
posted by Wordshore at 7:30 AM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


The thing is, English newspapers have been bad for a long time. There's a wonderful book by Nick Davies called Flat Earth News which tells us all we need to know about newspapers over the last twenty or so years. Stories like this one, handed from paper to paper without thought to its truthfulness or care to find out more, is the everyday way of newswriting here. Were they to ask or think or seek for themselves instead of copying, that would be more noteworthy.

Or rather, there is more teen cod in the North Sea than there is good and truthful writing in English newspapers.
posted by Jehan at 7:51 AM on September 30, 2012


I don't mean to carp but hasn't this kind of punfest derail pretty much jumped the shark by now?
posted by motty at 7:51 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I completely agree with motty. Why must you all skate over this important issue?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 8:18 AM on September 30, 2012


I rewad this while listening to my favourite song, Salmon Chanting Eveneing.

*puts down crowbar*
posted by ciderwoman at 8:54 AM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


(or read, even. Stupid no editing tools)
posted by ciderwoman at 8:54 AM on September 30, 2012


I'd say we're pretty much screwing ourselves when it comes to the fish stocks, but for a number of species, that ship has already sailed.

Now we're just scrod.

Royally.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:35 AM on September 30, 2012


Huh, surprising-- cod pieces generally overstate the things they cover.
posted by jamjam at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2012


> Maybe it's time to popularize jellyfish as food. (It's got a nice crunch to it.)

I wonder what shoggoth tastes like. Somebody else try it tand tell me.
posted by jfuller at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2012


> Salmon Chanting Eveneing

Fuller makes noise like dog being tormented by siren. Love it, love it, love it.
posted by jfuller at 12:17 PM on September 30, 2012


Fin?
posted by unSane at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2012 [15 favorites]


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