We here at FishOn may hold the record for grumpy grousing about the state of, you know, people. We decry their lack of civility, their inability to behave courteously and the overall general disdain for the immutable laws of the social compact. You know, the usual kvetching and moaning. As if we're any better.

But every now and then, people overwhelm you with their kindness. In that instant, you realize (again and again) that expending all of that negative energy is just surrendering to the dark side. And anyone who disagrees can meet us at the dirt road after school. Kidding. Kidding.

A few weeks ago, we wrote in FishOn about the passing of our good buddy Foster, a 13-year-old black Lab who served as the junior partner in our Lab firm of Foster and Willie. The reaction was quite extraordinary.

Dozens of folks reached out. Some via email. More in person. We even got a few voice mails. All expressed their condolences and some even related their own experiences with losing a beloved pet.

Then last week, we received a letter from Cape Ann Animal Aid to let us know that the organization had received a donation in the memory of Foster that will be used "to provide food, shelter and medical care for homeless dogs and cats in need."

The benefactor — a Gloucester woman named Nan Andrew — is someone we've never met. But she listed herself in the donation as a "FishOn fan." It left us speechless.

We'll be reaching out to Nan in a more direct and discrete manner, but we just wanted to publicly mark her generosity and let her know how much it touched us. And Willie says "Woof."

Baseball's Back Quiz questions

Major League Baseball returned last week. And while the new, stripped-down and ghostly model leaves the games feeling like extended spring training, it's still nice to have the ball laddies romping about. To honor it's return, we offer not one, but two trivia questions:

What pitcher holds the record for most consecutive Opening Day starts for the same team?

Who is the only pitcher to throw a no hitter on Opening Day?

The two answers are socially distancing below. 

Eat green crabs, save the world

Apparently we are not alone in our quest to fight off the dreaded European green crabs. We came upon a story last week on a Canadian website — castanet.net — that detailed the alarming escalation of the green crabs' presence on Vancouver Island off Canada's west coast. And with the usual results. They are aggressively destroying habitat and overwhelming other marine species, such as the local Dungeness crabs.

But the real concern is this: According to the accompanying pictures, these green crabs are enormous compared to what we usually see here in the Great Marsh, able to inflict far more damage, far more quickly.

"We have to get them out of the water," said Josh Temple, founder of the Coastal Restoration Society in Tofino, Vancouver Island. "It's extremely concerning when we are trying to protect habitat, native species and save every last salmon we have."

The island's young salmon stocks in the estuaries already are threatened by a growing seal population and the green crabs are destroying many of the key hiding areas where the salmon go to escape the seals, according to the piece

Stakeholders are pushing for a wide-scale program to trap the crabs.

"We really need to start a coast-wide response," Temple said. "I think we have to go after every site, get traps in the water in an industrial target trap program and with (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) to equip and train First Nations to run the program in their territories."

Going dark in the ocean

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but did you know there are fish in the ocean that behave like black holes out in the cosmos? Well, according to a story in the New York Times, there are species of fish, called ultra-black, that are virtually impossible to see.

"These animals are so keen at not being found that they've evolved the ability to absorb more than 99.9% of the light that hits their skin,' the piece stated. "In a paper published Thursday in Current Biology, researchers report snaring their first documented ultra-black animals in the ocean, and some of the darkest creatures ever found."

It went on to say that the scientists have identified 16 separate type of deep-sea fish "that are so black, they manifest as permanent silhouettes -- light-devouring voids that almost seems to shred the fabric of space-time."


We've already got our heads on a swivel during our ocean swims, looking for sharks, seals and -- a newcomer to the hit parade -- lion's mane jelly fish. Now we have to be on the lookout for something we can't even see?

One of these stealthy things bumps into us, we might be out of the water for good.

Baseball's Back Quiz answers

Righthander Robin Roberts made 12 consecutive Opening Day starts for the Phillies from 1950 until 1961. He was 5-6, 4.22 with one no-decision. His Opening Day starts included six complete games -- including a 12-inning start in 1957 against the Dodgers (he got the loss). Who throws 12 innings on Opening Day? Leave a guy out there for that long today and everybody gets fired. Roberts was a Hall of Fame pitcher. The Phillies were awful.

Bob Feller of the soon-to-be-renamed Indians, on April 16, 1940, no-hit the White Sox in a 1-0 victory at Comiskey Park. That was one of Rapid Robert's greatest years. He won the pitching Triple Crown by leading the American League in wins (27), ERA (2.61) and strikeouts (261). He started 37 games that season and threw complete games in 31. Think about that for a second. 

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column. 

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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