Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mystery fish wash ashore along Port Au Port Bay - 15th Nov 2011

Beachcombers along Port au Port Bay were amazed recently to find the shore littered with large numbers of an unknown species of dead fish.

"I have lived here for 65 years and have never seen anything like it," said Joe Martin.

The Port au Port West native said that he looked the fish up in a book and he's confident it is a species called the short-nosed flying fish.

Andrew Harvey, a fisher, also researched the strange fish. He thinks it is halfbeak, fish more common to Florida and found along the eastern seaboard as far north as Nova Scotia.

"I've been fishing for 35 years and have never seen it before, never had one in a net," said Mr. Harvey.

The fisher said he's heard this phenomenon is not only happening in Port au Port West, but all around the Port au Port Peninsula and as far as the Bay of Islands.

The local Fisheries and Oceans officer was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing. However, a marine biologist with Fisheries and Oceans in St. John's, Jack Lawson, explained how warm water fish can end up in local waters.

Mr. Lawson said the Gulf Stream moves up from Florida along the east coast and then deflects out from the Grand Banks. Eddies of warm water break off from the current and can take days or weeks before they dissipate.

He said fish that normally live in warm water get caught up in these warm core rings and because they won't move out into colder water, they eventually become cold-shocked and are left dead or dying on the beaches.

"I am wondering if, with climate change and maybe changes in current patterns, perhaps some of these warmer water animals are moving, getting washed into our area," Mr. Lawson said. Source