During the pandemic, most people are focused on what is happening on land (rising infections) or what’s not happening in the sky (fewer flights), but there have been plenty of updates about what is going on in our oceans. A rare nine-tentacled octopus was recently discovered by a fisherman in Shizugawa Bay in the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, last month, reports Kyodo. One local expert said that octopuses generally have the ability to regenerate tentacles that are cut off, and this one likely added another in the process of closing a wound on its tentacle. (Fun fact: Did you know octopuses have two “arms” and six “feet”? Neither did we.)
Speaking of fishing, more and more wholesalers at Tokyo’s Toyosu food market are relying on the internet to sell their bluefin tuna and sea urchin. The drop in demand for eating out amid the COVID-19 crisis has prompted the Tokyo Fish Market Wholesale Cooperative to focus also on selling directly to consumers, Jiji reports. The group’s website even offers a video tutorial on how to clean and fillet fish — Bon appetit!
And in more ocean-to-table news, oyster producers are banking on brisk demand from households as people stay home due to the coronavirus crisis, reports Jiji. While oyster shipments to restaurants have been sluggish due to people avoiding dining out, producers and distributors are increasing their efforts to sell directly to consumers.
So we need to save our oceans if we want to continue hunting for octopuses, tuna or oysters, but how? Perhaps simply by listening to them, reports Sabrina Imbler for the New York Times. A database of deep-sea soundscapes could provide researchers with baseline understanding of healthy remote ecosystems, and singling out the sounds of communities or even individual species can inform scientists when populations are booming.
“You need to know what the habitat sounds like when it’s healthy,” said Chong Chen, a deep-sea biologist at Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC. “When the soundscape has changed, the habitat may have changed, too.”