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No more slitherings.....
August 2, 2004 10:19 PM   Subscribe

Farewell, eels.
posted by troutfishing (36 comments total)

 
.
posted by moonbird at 10:45 PM on August 2, 2004


We are so fucked.
posted by muckster at 10:52 PM on August 2, 2004


Maybe the eels are all laying low, hunkered down and riding us out.
posted by troutfishing at 10:55 PM on August 2, 2004


I've seen video of what some people do with eels. It's... um...

yeah.
posted by Hackworth at 10:56 PM on August 2, 2004


More info.

posted by arse_hat at 11:02 PM on August 2, 2004


What Hackworth said.
posted by LukeyBoy at 11:13 PM on August 2, 2004


Above link is Safe For Work.

The larger implication, though, may gradually drive you mad and so impair your workplace performance.

Your personal physician may be able to prescribe medicines to combat the ensuing depression.

Have a nice day.
posted by troutfishing at 11:14 PM on August 2, 2004


From arse_hat's link: Factors contributing to this decline include eel harvest, death in hydro turbines, barriers to migration routes (e.g. dams) and changing environmental and climatic conditions.

So "green" power may be contributing to the eel's demise?
posted by trharlan at 11:23 PM on August 2, 2004


For a moment, I was worried the rock band "eels" had broken up.
posted by jonson at 11:23 PM on August 2, 2004


I blame chemicals. Pesticides, etc.. same thing doing the frogs in.
posted by stbalbach at 11:30 PM on August 2, 2004


For a moment, I was worried that Hackworth's video's were in short supply...
posted by arse_hat at 11:30 PM on August 2, 2004


today, everything changed.
posted by bonaldi at 12:12 AM on August 3, 2004


Four years ago I stumbled upon my first American eels, a small colony of elvers squirming aside a large rock in the middle of the Courtois Creek in the Missouri Ozarks. Never seeing these small snake-like creatures before, it took me some research to identify and learn more about them.

These elvers swam a thousand or so miles to live in the stream that runs through my farm. Amazing. The 'old-timer' that lives nearby told me how he fished for eels as a youth, in the wee hours of the night with rod and reel, a story of capture that affirms the saying, 'as slippery as an eel.'

Four years have past, and I've yet to find another eel despite my hundred attempts. I thought I was just unlucky, but Trout's link makes me wonder, and makes me sad.
posted by F Mackenzie at 1:21 AM on August 3, 2004


But...my unagi! And my anago! Noooooooooooooooo!!!
posted by TungstenChef at 2:08 AM on August 3, 2004


Is there a link between trout fishing and ell decline?
posted by ciderwoman at 2:14 AM on August 3, 2004


I'll lay off the smoked eel sambos from now on.
posted by prolific at 2:49 AM on August 3, 2004


Alas, no more 'Eels In the Green', a traditional Belgian dish of eels slowly baked packed in a blend of herbs.

I am sure I would have seen elvers as a kid, since I saw pretty much everything that would lurk in a creek or pond. Never knew they were caught and eaten in America.
posted by Goofyy at 3:21 AM on August 3, 2004


But so Mark and the boys are still putting out albums, right? This is the kind of confusion you get when you purposefully lower-case your name.
posted by yerfatma at 3:54 AM on August 3, 2004


This reminds me of a particularly gruesome Chinese cooking technique. A block of tofu is placed in water, along with a number of baby eels. The water is slowly heated up, and the eels will seek refuge by burrowing into the tofu. Of course, they can't escape the heat forever and will die and cook in the tofu, flavoring it.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:55 AM on August 3, 2004


Trout, you of all people should know that this is another dire Republican scheme to keep America free from these evil creatures that have been known to gather in the Gulf of Mexico every year in order to invade our shores.
posted by donfactor at 4:17 AM on August 3, 2004


Hydropower may be responsible for some of the decline in migratory fish but I don't think it's a major factor in many cases. Eels (at least European ones) breed in the Sargasso Sea, that high temperature low productivity gyre in the Atlantic that is created and maintained by the Gulf Stream and must also migrate through major fishing grounds and through highly modified rivers to get there and back.

Because the Sargoaso Sea is so low in productivity it is relatively predator free, usually. If that changed it would impact the eels. So they are probably affected by a combination of changing ocean conditions, big ass fishing boats, increased predation due to a decline in other prey such as sand eels, barriers to migration and estuarine and freshwater impacts.

Might tasty too.
posted by maggie at 4:34 AM on August 3, 2004


Welcome, Northern Snakehead.
Slimier and slippier than an eel, taking over the waterways.
posted by nofundy at 4:53 AM on August 3, 2004


When I was a child in Poland, my uncle Jan would smoke eels and they were absolutely delicious. Today, my uncle is dead, I haven't been to Poland in a decade, and I'm a vegetarian. Also, this could have been more thorough of an FPP, linking this to the plummeting populations of other sea creatures (ie everything in the oceans).
posted by crazy finger at 5:38 AM on August 3, 2004


Anyone who wants some eels is welcome to stop by my house; the Savannah River is full of eels and they are considered a nuisance by the catfishermen whose bait they take. They are fun to catch, but they are so slimy that many people won't go to the trouble to clean them;in fact, many people here don't even realize they are edible.
posted by TedW at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2004


>I blame chemicals. Pesticides, etc.. same thing doing the frogs in.

No the link says: Factors contributing to this decline include eel harvest, death in hydro turbines, barriers to migration routes (e.g. dams) and changing environmental and climatic conditions
Can’t quite remember all the details - recall a member linking to the cause of mutated looking frogs, three legs. The cause was a mosquito or gnat laying its larva in it.

F Mackenzie commented they were commonly fished yet would wonder if the creek he saw them in is used for farm irrigation. Which would have man made barriers in it.
how the decline is affecting fishermen on Lake Ontario, who depend upon the eels for a living.
This made me want to eek: Stop fishing them.

Wonder if migratory birds in the past had any effect on the eel's population. This would be when the Mid West was mostly farm land. Then again with the pollution of our lakes, creeks & streams what would want to live in them.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:55 AM on August 3, 2004


"So "green" power may be contributing to the eel's demise?" - well, there's little that's entirely "green", but I bet some tightly woven enough netting would keep the eels from poking their pointy heads into those turbines. I bet the turbines slice and dice a lot of sea creatures : so, as a rather different approach, the turbine operators could just collect the bits emerging from the butt end of the turbines and sell it as Sashimi.

donfactor - I wish I could recall the name of a certain 1970's eco-disaster sci-fi novel I once read which described, as one of the series of ravishing hordes and plagues it depicted reducing, in rapid succession, human civilization down to a tidbit, a plague of a hitherto undiscovered species, huge nasty eel-like creatures which came walking out of the sea in swarms and devoured the residents living along all the coastal areas of the World. Ecological disruption had led the eelish creatures to migrate up from the deep in search of food. It was the sort of well written and horrible depressing book that I would never leave out if children were around.

BTW - I haven't forgotten that question of yours. I'm slicing it up for analysis - with the whirring turbines of my mind - then chewing and rechewing the bits.
posted by troutfishing at 9:02 AM on August 3, 2004


I heard this report, very sad. You just wake up one morning and something else is gone.
posted by carter at 9:53 AM on August 3, 2004


I don't know if the NPR report mentions it, but here's a recent article from the UK Independent about the shrinking sandeel population off the coast of Scotland and it's effect on the sea-birds in the area.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2004


.
posted by of strange foe at 11:07 AM on August 3, 2004


Perhaps it's time for a re-reading of Jared Diamond's deeply distressing article about the decline and fall of the population and culture of Rapa Nui.

Why were Easter Islanders so foolish as to cut down all their trees, when the consequences would have been so obvious to them? This is a key question that nags everyone who wonders about self-inflicted environmental damage. I have often asked myself, "What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it?" Like modern loggers, did he shout "Jobs, not trees!"? Or: "Technology will solve our problems, never fear, we'll find a substitute for wood"? Or: "We need more research, your proposed ban on logging is premature"?

Similar questions arise for every society that has inadvertently damaged its environment, including ours today. It turns out that there is a series of reasons why people in any society— whether Easter Islanders, Maya, or ourselves—may make fatal mistakes that will look foolish to their successors. They may not anticipate a problem, because of the problem being unprecedented in their experience: e.g., today's overharvesting of the ocean's seemingly inexhaustible fisheries, for the first time in human history.


I've been kind of broodingly obsessed with the Easter Island scenario as applied to this finite planet for a few years now. It's haunting. Diamond's article was previously discussed here.
posted by jokeefe at 11:42 AM on August 3, 2004


Oh, and jfuller's comments from the previous Mefi discussion are well worth reading.
posted by jokeefe at 11:48 AM on August 3, 2004


.

Thanks, F Mackenzie, that's a great anecdote.

It saddens me incredibly to see the decline or extinction of any species. I can't understand the callousness with which some people brush off these issues.
posted by Shane at 12:40 PM on August 3, 2004


donfactor - I wish I could recall the name of a certain 1970's eco-disaster sci-fi novel I once read which described, as one of the series of ravishing hordes and plagues it depicted reducing, in rapid succession, human civilization down to a tidbit, a plague of a hitherto undiscovered species, huge nasty eel-like creatures which came walking out of the sea in swarms and devoured the residents living along all the coastal areas of the World.

That actually sounds kind of like Vonnegut's short story The Great Space Fuck. It was in one of the Dangerous Visions anthologies and is also in one of Vonnegut's collections. Palm Sunday maybe?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:58 PM on August 3, 2004


PinkStainlessTail - Maybe. I remember it being an actual novel, but who knows? It was a long time ago that I read it.

"Unlikely that he said or thought anything in particular, any more than a goat on a rocky island thinks anything in particular as it eats the last blade of grass. Horizons shrink easily to embrace nothing but the deed at hand. Living in the moment is part of our heritage as animals." (jfuller, on Easter Island thread)


jokeefe - I thought that one a great comment as well (and said so at the time) but actually don't entirely agree, and from personal experience : I seem to be a creature of a different order.

I believe that human "time horizon focus" is at least partially a genetically encoded trait - I'm actually inclined by nature, it seems to focus most acutely on the very immediate present and also on the long term (on the scale of a human lifespan) future. My brain absorbs information on long term trends, probable futures, impending hazards and disasters, and so on with a frightful efficiency.

Oddly, I also seem to have a genius for dealing with disasters and immediate threats to survival - in such situations, I snap into a state of great concentration and extreme lucidity for as long as the emergency continues. I would likely have made a good soldier, EMT or fireman.

But, I have an unusually hard time concentrating on the short to mid term future that most humans find easiest, on those day-to-day, month-to-month details and projects.

I could go on and on with lists of characteristics, but suffice it to say that I've decided that - as a genetic type - I'm optimized to the extreme for one general thing : survival.

I'll reel off a list of possible or definite impending threats for the next 50 years, and - should I notice someone choking in a restaurant, I'll spy in the shirt pocket of somebody a hundred feet away a Bic pen and borrow it - after the Heimlich manuever has failed to dislodge the obstruction - to perform an emergency tracheotomy.

This seems to come quite naturally - It's day to day life that gives me challenge.

I suspect that - from the overall standpoint of the species or tribal group - it's useful (if annoying) to have a few like me around to scan the horizon or to calmly deal when the shit really hits the fan.
posted by troutfishing at 2:25 PM on August 3, 2004


Goodbye cruel world.
posted by hama7 at 3:53 PM on August 3, 2004




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