Great Fish Count Nets Huge Number of Sea Creatures

by |June 5, 2019

Blue crabs netted in the Hudson River. Image: Sarah Fecht

Families from all over the five boroughs of New York City came out for the Great Fish Count on Saturday. More than 1600 people stopped by to help out with this annual survey of biodiversity in New York City’s waterways.

At Fort Washington Park, just south of the George Washington Bridge, a team from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory deployed nets and identified the fish they scooped up. Amidst all the flopping fish and splashing around, kids and their parents learned about the ecology and industrial history of the Hudson River.

At its 18 sites across the city, this year’s Great Fish Count netted more than 840 fish, representing 24 different species. Small schooling feeder fish such as bay anchovy and Atlantic silverside made up the bulk of the catch, which is no surprise, said Margie Turrin, Lamont-Doherty education coordinator.

But there were some surprises as well — there always are. Four new species were added to the Fish Count list, including northern pufferfish, naked goby, bluegill, and golden shiner.

You can meet a few of the fish in the slideshow below. All were released back into the waterways after the survey.

The Great Fish Count is part of the World Science Festival, with support from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

carrying net dragging net collecting fish empty net flounder and girl flounder bay anchovy northernpuffer
A close-up of the summer flounder. Although it was born with eyes on either side of its face like a normal fish, one eye later migrated to join the other on one side of the face. A helpful adaptation, since the fish lives flat against the river bottom. Photo: Sarah Fecht

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