Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 9:06 pm | A Few Clouds 53º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Tsunami Waters Take Toll on Local Fish

Sea critters struggled to go with the flow of powerful currents and surges

Imagine swimming in a strong river where there is no bank you can get to. Maybe you can hold your own against the flow, and perhaps you can even gain some ground for a short while, but you are soon going to tire. Then what?

You will be carried with the flow until it slows, and then that — wherever it is — is where you find yourself. That is what the powerful currents and surges of the recent tsunami water did to our local fish.

Here we are early in rockfish season, and these critters had a tough go of it last week. Currents raged at 15 knots (more than 17 mph). Sure, most fish can swim that fast, but structure fish are not accustomed to swimming at high speeds for long periods.

To make it worse, the water raged one way, slowed, and then reversed and raced the other way. Well, not exactly a 180-degree reversal, so the overall effect was to displace fish.

Now we have structure-oriented fish learning to cope around different reef zones and in new environments. It may take awhile for them to resume their normal life in the savage food chain. They are hungry after such a fierce battle against the forces of nature. Fish are adaptive and quite good at finding food sources, so the disrupted critters lower in the food chain will provide their needs.

Even fish such as halibut, which are well-designed for hunkering on the bottom, had trouble because they could get buried in moving sand and mud if they weren’t careful. Pelagic school fish such as white seabass are accustomed to swimming for long periods, so they probably fared better than most fish. Small schooling finfish such as anchovies and sardines, as well as shrimp and other slow swimmers were blown all over the ocean.

It was a tough weekend for sea critters last week. All sea critters.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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