Friday, October 05, 2007

A Tropical Enclave

Each year tropical and subtropical fish spawn to the south and their eggs are carried north by the Gulf Stream. When the fish hatch, they either leave on their own or are carried out of the Gulf Stream and into Narragansett Bay, particularly near a place called Fort Wetherell.

I had known that this was how juvenile sea turtles, particularly Kemp's ridleys, got up here, but I hadn't heard of the same thing happening with fish, although it makes sense. The sea turtles have a chance of making it back to the Gulf Stream, assuming the water stays warm enough, but the fish are doomed. So a group of divers collects them. From the Jamestown Press, in Rhode Island:

The dive club tries to rescue as many of the juvenile fish as they can and then donates them to different aquariums and private tank owners.

... "There are about 30 or 40 varieties of fish that we see. Some are more common and easier to catch than others," Stefanik said. "The different types of butterfly fish are the most common, but we have even seen a barracuda." The group caught a lionfish last year, the first catch of its kind in New England.

Snorkelers and children also got in on the fun. "It really is a family event. Because the shallow water is warmer, there are many fish around the edges so even those without scuba gear can see many fish," Al Bozza, programs director for the club, said.


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