Tomorrow 8 June we celebrate the annual World Oceans Day! This year’s theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change and the organisers encourage us to “reach out to young people in your community and help inspire them”. There’s a whole bunch of events going on tomorrow, find out what’s on where you live:
Is there a party I wasn’t invited to and why haven’t I heard of the crazy long tail dresscode??
This little guy is a real trouble-maker. It is a predator water flea called fishhook waterflea and it likes to eat other smaller animal plankton (zooplankton).
This is the kind of animal that could get any party started, but you would probably have to call the police to get it out… You see, it likes to hang out with its friends in the water, well, more like entangle with each other’s tails. Each waterflea is just 1 cm small but when they gang up on you in hundreds you can imagine the big slimy ball with hooks you need to push it out through the door before they trash your place. This is when you wish you had told your parents you where having a party so they could help you out.
They crash other people’s parties as well. If you try to run a nuclear plant or just want to catch some fish for dinner, the fishhook waterflea are there again, clumping together just to give you problems. They can get stuck in water cooling inlets to factories or hang on to fishing nets without caring at all. Those nasty up-to-no-good kids!
Oh, but what about the herring then? Any party hats?
Well, as it turns out, they also like to eat zooplankton! Let’s say they are having a party with a zooplankton cake they made. In comes the fishhook waterflea (because it used to only exist in some lakes far away from the herrings, but hitch-hiked with ships to other seas, without paying of course…) and eats almost all of the cake in front of the herrings! Such an utterly rude and upsetting behaviour at a nice get-together! And the herrings are so many and so hungry. Look at all those sad eyes. They don’t even have any party hats to save the party. Mainly because hats are difficult to put on if you don’t have any hands.
Next: Everyone’s favourite food, the cuter kinds of zooplankton!
When I was a small kid I used to help my parents when they were fishing at our summer cottage. It is a beautiful place by the sea with many surrounding islands, and that’s were I started to learn about the millions of small, big, cute, smelly, slimey, beautiful, ugly, or just plain weird things living in our waters.
One day we caught a lot of herring in our nets. We put the nets on a smooth cliff in the sun and I helped my parents remove the fish from the nets so we could prepare them for lunch. Suddenly I saw a big herring that had this beautiful rainbow colour on its body; it was like oil on the water surface, ever changing from red to lilac to blue, green, yellow. Herring only have a few hard scales on their body and the rest is just soft skin and two enormous eyes and a toothless mouth. How could a child not fall in love with this animal? (To my defence, I was very used to the smell of fish…)
I decided to keep it as a pet, although it was very, very dead. I played with it for many hours and pretended that it swam around in the air and ate ants. I loved it. My parents were wise enough to stop me though, when the evening came and I wanted to let it sleep on my bedside table for the night. That was a very sad moment for the little child I was, but the herring sure wouldn’t have been a pretty sight in the morning. Or rather a smell…
Herrings are very delicious by the way! I really recommend them on a plate and not so much as toys.
What do herrings like then? Find out next.
Please support a non-profit organisation such as WWF and help protect our waters!