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"Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea"
September 4, 2014 11:25 AM   Subscribe

While on ISS, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured and tweeted a picture that captured night time picture of the Gulf of Thailand, including a vast area of green lights, distinct from the white, yellow and orange lights of adjacent cities. Reid wrote "Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea… " but others did know: it was many fishing boats with green fishing light attractors.

The popularity of green light fishing has soared in saltwater and freshwater circles. But Thai squid fishers go beyond a single green light, opting for long arms lined with lights to increase the attention they get from plankton, which attract fish, which in turn attract squid.

NASA's Earth Observatory has written about Something Fishy in the Atlantic Night, focusing on fishing off of the coast of Argentina instead of the green glow in the Gulf of Thailand. Astronauts also captured the green lights in a video capturing Bangkok to North Pacific (note: the videos linked in there are .MOV files).
posted by filthy light thief (17 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Astronaut Lt. Commaner Wiseman has been mentioned previously, with Camilla the rubber (space) chicken.

Videos from ISS, previously.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2014


Also, not to be confused with the unknown lights in the Pacific, discussed previously.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2014


Astronaut Lt. Commaner Wiseman has been mentioned previously, with Camilla the rubber (space) chicken.
♫ I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife.
It's lonely out in space. ♪
I am so sorry.
posted by Zed at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I saw this last month, and it's fun to see it as an FPP. People are ingenious and the world is weird!
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2014


Looks cool, but do we really need ways to fish more efficiently? If I'm reading this right, we've already wiped out 40 fish populations and another 100 are on their way.
posted by clawsoon at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Neato attractor lights plus slavery equals SUPER EXTRA EFFICIENCY.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:00 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


In terms of replacement rate and sheer biomass, squid *appears* to be a sustainable fishery. FAO Report.
posted by Nevin at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I recently gifted my departing flatmate, who is from Bangkok, this space photo in an assorted photo album. I thought the green tinge made the city look especially beautiful -- eerie and serene -- compared to a bunch of other cities NASA had up there in file on their site, which didn't stand out to me.

(Discovered thanks to previously on MeFi, of course. I still can't believe they don't have Hong Kong up there, where the harbor cityscape is apocalyptically cool even from the local Peak mountain.)

But, anyway, my father is from Bangkok and I've never heard of this phenomenon. I visit the city a lot but rarely the coasts, except to eat seafood.

I'll bet a lot of young urbanites there have no idea about these green lights, since cityslickers often visit the seaside just to eat and thoroughly booze out. Many people from Bangkok are lovely and shallow that way.

I'll ask around and see what people say.

Then again, I'm ignorant.
posted by niphates at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nevin: In terms of replacement rate and sheer biomass, squid *appears* to be a sustainable fishery. FAO Report.

And it'll help us wipe out those pesky sperm whales by eating their food supply, too, if I'm reading that report correctly. Yay?
posted by clawsoon at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2014


I'll bet a lot of young urbanites there have no idea about these green lights, since cityslickers often visit the seaside just to eat and thoroughly booze out.

Yeah, to be be fair, that's really not that different from the average Bangkokian's response to not being at the seaside.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


In terms of replacement rate and sheer biomass, squid *appears* to be a sustainable fishery.

Also delicious, even though I'm too far away from Thailand hence wouldn't really care for the catch.

I'm about as pro-technology, pro-eating-tasty-stuff, anti-unscientific-woo as they come. I have actually eaten squid I caught myself (though not with an alien glow lamp, just a line and a white plastic lure thingy) - they love to squirt water in your face as you unhook them. But still, if your fishing method of choice is actually visible from space, you'll have to work pretty hard to convince me you aren't fucking the ecosystem up in _some_ way.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


From the Gulf Coast fishing link: "Blue-green light travels furthest in the water. That's right, green light travels further in the water and is more effective at luring in fish than white light."

Fascinating. I wonder why that is. It'd be cool if it had something to do with the natural color of water, to human eyes in decent lighting anyway.

Also, I'd kill for some a serious photo essay of a night with one of these Thai fishermen.

In other Thai fishing news, I believe Burmese and other refugees are widely exploited like slaves in the Thai marine fishing industry, a scandal many Thai people feel indifferent about.
sorry
posted by niphates at 1:32 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I thought it was an Enlightment control field.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:35 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I used to live in Hakodate, squid capital of the universe, and the glowing lights of ikafune (squid boats) on the horizon were a tourist attraction. Here is a little pic I took of some ikafune at the Oomori Docks in Hakodate. The green lights must be a relatively new thing, these ikafune used white lights.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:01 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


At least give the poor fish a fighting chance for crying out loud.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:44 PM on September 4, 2014




it was many fishing boats with green fishing light attractors.

Oh, wow. I remember that view of the boats at night. Thanks for posting this, filthy light thief.
posted by homunculus at 5:24 PM on September 14, 2014


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