You had to know it was coming....
A BOATING BAN IN THE WORKS?
-(AP)- Miami News has recently surfaced about a six year long research project conducted by the Marine Biology Department of the University of West Florida, located north of Pensacola, FL. The University today announced the as-yet-unpublished research project that is being heralded throughout the marine biology field as a major breakthrough.
According to Marine Biology Department Head Roger Crankston , researchers at UWF have been working on translating the sounds that fish make when they communicate with each other. Researchers have observed schools of fish and how they seem to move in unison. Large schools of fish seem to have some undetected language they use to signal each other when danger is near. The fish use these communication tools to provide such things as turning directions, directions to food sources, the presence of predatory fish, etc.
Researchers have long suspected that fish have a low-frequency language of chirps and other sounds for the basis of their communication. Researchers used extensive recording equipment to log the sounds these schools of fish make, then catalogued the sounds into “fish languages.”
Crankston , in announcing the study and the results, said that while various breeds of fish have slightly different sounds, there are many similarities from one species to another. As an example, fish species that are on the lower end of the food chain all have similar sounds they make when danger is present. Due to the rapid rate that sound travels through water, these sounds are quickly spread throughout that school of fish and also picked up by other nearby schools of fish.
Crankston went on to say that a danger signal from one species of fish can easily be interpreted by other species. Those danger signals then are “telegraphed” from one area to another. He likened the fast dispersal of a danger signal over wide distances to how quickly a message can travel over the internet.
One area of the fish study that will raise serious debate is how the results of these studies are being used. Crankston , in 2014, quietly contacted several other marine research institutes in the SW states with the preliminary results of his studies. The researchers have also been in contact with state legislators in Gulf states as well as states in the Atlantic region as far north as New Jersey.
The researchers have quietly been pressuring legislators of those 12 states to push through legislation to severely restrict the use of boats in coastal waters. The basis for the legislation would be that the sounds from the boat engines are loud enough to mask the dangers signals from the fish.
This “masking” of the danger signals has resulted in the deaths of countless millions of smaller fish by larger fish as the danger signals could not be heard over the sounds of boat engines.
Crankston said he personally has seen large schools of fish decimated by predatory fish when their danger signals were masked by nearby boats. In one instance that he spoke of, he was diving in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Escambia River. He watched in horror as a school of thousands of fish was repeatedly and savagely attacked by larger fish of many species, resulting in the death of hundreds of the smaller fish. He said it appeared the larger fish were aware that the boat engines restricted the smaller fishes’ ability to communicate and used this as an opportunity for a “feeding frenzy.”
Crankston said that through the efforts of his department and others have convinced state representatives in the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states to submit bills in next year’s legislative sessions to restrict boating activities.
He said their ultimate goal would be to eliminate all recreational boating in coastal waters. He further stated that goal would not be reachable for many years so they are now seeking a ban on weekend and evening recreational boating.
In a public statement issued yesterday, Crankston said “The continued survival of many aquatic species demands that recreational boating be halted. We see the ban on weekend and evening boat use in coastal waters as a first large step toward our ultimate goal—a total ban on recreational boating. We realize this will not be popular to the recreational boating industries, but the lives of untold millions of fish are at stake. I hope boaters will understand and support our efforts.”
Meanwhile, legislation is being prepared in 12 coastal states that will severely restrict recreational boating. Legislators in 9 of those states (Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey) have already signed on to support Crankston ’s work and believe they have the support in their states to see these bills come to law.
Mike and Tina
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