07 Jul '11, 11am

The most important fish in the sea:

The most important fish in the sea:

On a bright morning in May, a calm Chesapeake Bay glitters in the sun, an expanse of blue, the nation's largest and once most productive estuary. A sudden commotion shatters the serenity: Dozens of gulls swoop toward the 135-foot ship Reedville , and the water beneath the boat begins to churn and froth. With two smaller boats at its side, the Reedville encloses a school of fish in a stiff black purse seine net. With practiced efficiency, workers onboard hoist a vacuum pump into the net and suck tens of thousands of small silvery fish out of the water. It looks like an unusual way to catch fish; it's all the more unusual when you realize that this particular industrial catch is actually banned by every state on the East Coast. Every state, that is, save for one: Virginia. The fish going up the tube are Atlantic menhaden, known to ocean ecologists as the "breadbasket of the ...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/animals/2011-07-07-the-most-importan...

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