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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Depredation - hot topic, cool videos

Depredation, or the removal of fish from fishing gear by various marine creatures, is a growing problem in a world where there are ever-fewer fish. Whales and other large marine animals often have to expend a fair bit of energy to find food, so being the clever beings they are, they often learn to look for it in places where it is most concentrated and easy to find: in fishing gear. Of course, while this can benefit the whale in the short run, it can also lead to injury and entanglement.

Anyway, now that you've heard the spiel, here are some videos that various people have taken of the phenomenon. The first video was taken by Conservation International near Papau, and features a whale shark taking batfish from a net with the aid of the same filter feeding technique it would normally use to catch fish

A little closer to home, in the Gulf of Alaska, a sperm whale was filmed taking fish from a longline by running it's jaw along the line. At no point before the fish is released does the whale touch the fish, and it can be heard echo-locating the entire time. It is a remarkable video and well worth watching (click on the image below and scroll down to watch the video).

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