tropical fish off Long Island!
August 4, 2008 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Tropical fish in New York? The Gulf Stream sweeps immature tropical fish up north, and aquariums scoop them up off Long Island. "Catching the fish up north is cheaper and less disruptive to ocean ecosystems than trapping them in the tropics. And the collections are rescue missions of a sort, because these Gulf Stream travelers are unlikely to survive the winter." (New York Times)

Here's a related 1910 article from the Times (links to a PDF). Now I want to go look for colorful fish myself!
posted by moonmilk (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
...and there's a pretty nice video in the first NYT article.
posted by moonmilk at 9:49 PM on August 4, 2008

From the voiceover in the video: "(The fish) appear to be surviving further north." That's FARTHER north, not "further north." Aaargh!! And its The New York Times! Aaaargh!! Read the book!

(that's "aaargh!" as in "I'm annoyed," not "aaargh!" as in "I'm a pirate.")
posted by longsleeves at 11:15 PM on August 4, 2008

Small world. The moment I saw this post I knew Todd Gardner would be involved. I met him at a fish convention a few years ago and we communicate from time to time. I was amazed the first time I heard that you can catch tropical fish from the waters of New York. Especially having been to the ocean there twice and never seeing anything. He told me I just wasn't looking in the right places. :)

Todd also works a lot with seahorses, he's working with a program to restore eelgrass beds by helping them populate them with seahorses. Yes, New York has seahorses in the surrounding waters, and they're native, not a strain that has been washed from southern populations. Some of the neatest looking ones too, they're a species that ranges from the Caribbean to New York, but the northern population have very large (and beautiful, might I add) fins when compared to their southern brethren.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:22 PM on August 4, 2008


Both further and farther can be used to describe physical distance.
posted by ryanrs at 1:28 AM on August 5, 2008

Oh. never mind, then.
posted by longsleeves at 2:28 AM on August 5, 2008

The "fish" appear to be surviving further north.

Aaargh! That should be "ghoti".
posted by hal9k at 2:44 AM on August 5, 2008

Here in NC, the Gulf Stream has surprisingly become a place of permanent residence for the lionfish - they are a beautiful tropical fish and are really nifty to spy down among the reef crevices.

Local divers were reporting sightings of the lionfish in 2002-2003, but marine scientist didn’t feel they were anything but transitory since the winter waters were too cold. But, as long as the lionfish stay in the Gulf Stream, they are quite happy. It’s plenty warm enough for them in the winter. Now, studies are being conducted to determine the population and spread of the fish. First studies were done in 2004.

Present assessment (ongoing) considers that they can be seen as a nuisance fish since they are likely displacing some native species. As predator fish, they are pretty high up on the food chain. Some preliminary studies find that they are reproducing - so they are here to stay. Be it global warming or natural progression, the definition of the words "tropical fish" may need expanding.
posted by mightshould at 5:54 AM on August 5, 2008

What an awesome mechanism for exploiting new areas - nature can be so cool.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:35 AM on August 5, 2008

My 7 year old son confirms that there are seahorses in the Hudson River - his First Grade class did a project on "the river that flows both ways" last year. We also had a manatee in the river back in July/August of 06, which scared the pants off a lot of power boaters fearful of Florida-like no-wake zones.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2008

Salmon Fishing in New York
posted by unSane at 8:02 AM on August 5, 2008

This was really interesting, thanks for posting it.
So is there any chance the NY orphan fish could stay in the warm stream like those NC lionfish that mightshould mentioned? Or are they definitely going to wind up in colder waters and die?
posted by rmless at 11:54 AM on August 5, 2008

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