A Fascination for Fish: Adventures of an Underwater Pioneer by David C. Powell, Sylvia A. Earle

By David C. Powell, Sylvia A. Earle

This enticing memoir offers one man's lifelong love of the sea and provides a hugely own, behind-the-scenes examine California's superb and cutting edge aquariums. David Powell, for a few years curator of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, tells the tale of his lifestyles as a pioneering aquarist. From dealing with nice white sharks to transporting smooth fish on bumpy airplanes to nighttime diving for fish within the Indian Ocean, A Fascination for Fish describes some of the mind-boggling demanding situations that make smooth aquariums attainable and gives an fascinating glimpse underneath the ocean's floor.

Powell's profession in diving and aquarium improvement is going again to the start of contemporary tools in either components. From the early recommendations he devised to get fish into aquariums alive and fit to his later exploratory dive to a intensity of 11 hundred toes in a two-person submarine, Powell's action-packed narrative conjures up laughter, ask yourself, and philosophical mirrored image. A Fascination for Fish additionally comprises many tales approximately Powell's diving adventures at the California coast, within the Sea of Cortez, and in lots of distant and unique destinations all over the world.

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In line with this philosophy, a number of old Los Angeles streetcars were dumped over a sandy area near the south end of Santa Monica Bay. A few months after they were installed I had a chance to dive on them with Earl Ebert and Chuck Turner, biologists with the California Department of Fish and Game. The underwater reefs had already attracted a healthy population of fish, and it was quite humorous to watch them swimming in and out through the windows or perched on the streetcar seats. The streetcar reef was one of those projects that initially seemed like a good idea but in reality was not.

But there’s something seriously lacking when all you see is the grotesque dead body of a pickled study specimen. Swimming with fish in their own world, collecting them, and keeping them in an aquarium environment are the ways to really understand these creatures. For example, the California scorpionfish relies on potent venom in its spines for protection. Sedentary in their habits, these slow swimmers— when they do get up and move—are extremely easy to catch. Because of the ease with which they can be caught, there is a tendency to take them for granted.

Milt Shedd, chairman of the board of Sea World and an expert angler, kindly o¤ered the use of his sixty-seven-foot sportfishing boat, appropriately named Sea World. Several times Milt took us to Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands to collect rockfish. We’d developed a technique by which, theoretically at least, we could successfully collect live rockfish from as deep as three hundred feet. We knew from past experience that fish brought to the surface from that depth wouldn’t survive even when their swimbladders were deflated with a hypodermic needle at the surface.

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