The famous Galician bluefish, climate change and my arse

This is the anjova (Pomatomus saltatrix) caught off Galicia. According to Europa Press, fisherman Pablo Oliver got in touch with the Spanish National Research Council/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and the Institute of Oceanography/Instituto Oceanográfico to tell them of his discovery and to enquire as to why this fish was in waters outside its known range:

They told me that it was the first time they’d heard of a bluefish. They’d had news of other tropical and subtropical fish but this was the first bluefish found in such cold latitudes and they said the cause could be climate change.

The sub on La Vanguardia doesn’t do conditional and converts this into a definite, but a quick bit of GBS suggests that the scientists too might have wanted to be slightly more tentative with that “could”. North America tends to be better at documenting this kind of stuff, and here’s an excerpt from the US Department of Commerce “essential fish habitat source document” Bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix, life history and habitat characteristics (1999):

Bluefish are warm water migrants and do not occur in [Middle Atlantic Bight] waters at temperatures < 14-16°C... They generally move north in spring-summer to centers of abundance in the New York Bight and southern New England and south in autumn-winter to the waters in the [South Atlantic Bight] as far as southeastern Florida. There is a trend for larger individuals to occur farther north during the Summer (Wilk, 1977). Anecdotal reports suggest that larger adults truncate their southward migration and spend the winter on the outer part of the continental shelf of the MAB. One report witnessed a single fish landed from about 100m deep off Martha's Vineyard during mid-January 1950 and several hauls of 80-640kg from the vicinity of Hudson Canyon during early February of the same year (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). Another study simply reported "boats engaged in the winter trawl fishery for fluke and scup along the outer margin of the continental shelf often bring in a few bluefish" (Hame 1959). These reports have been perpetuated since (Lunc 1961; Miller 1969; Lund and Maltezos 1970; Hardy 1978). However, recent winter trawl surveys do not indicate, nor are fisheries or other data available to support, the presence of bluefish in the MAB during winter, except for a few occurrences near the shelf edge off Cape Hatteras...

One bluefish off La Coruña does not a global catastrophe make.

Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *