Bait Ball Spectacle at the SM Pier

Heal the Bay - Tara Crow

An up-close look at a tiny fraction of the bait ball at the Santa Monica Pier. Image: Heal the Bay - Tara Crow

Over the last two days, there has been a massive school of bait fish, mostly anchovies, around the end of the Santa Monica Pier.  After getting amazing video and photos e-mailed to me, I finally decided to play hooky and check it out around sunset on Tuesday. 

The biological phenomenon was incredible.  The ocean was literally a sea of shimmering silver bait fish. 

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Jeremy’s Spoken

scripps_j_jackson_webI have finally met my match. I’ve finally found someone more cynical than I am about the state of the environment and specifically our oceans – Jeremy Jackson, the world-renowned marine biologist.

Jackson, a lanky man with a ponytail and a head of red hair of an interesting hue, made two addresses at UCLA last week on the collapse of the world’s fisheries. He is one of the few ivory tower academics that speaks his mind in public about the state of the world. (Jared Diamond is another that comes to mind.)

Jackson’s message was clear. All of the world’s fisheries are collapsing or on the verge of collapse. Don’t look for any marine fish other than sardines or anchovies by the year 2050. We got into this mess of massive ichthyocide through overfishing, pollution and climate change. Not much hope for sound fisheries management with the tragedy of the commons in the world’s oceans, especially if the U.S. doesn’t lead the way. Marine Protected Areas in California and Australia are a good start.

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