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Fish #180 Corkwing Wrasse Symphodus melops ~ Di Hennell
Watercolour 21 x 29 cm
I chose to paint this particular fish as I loved to think this brightly coloured fish (male) could be part of the North Sea's Fish population. It looks so tropical. The males tend to be much more colourful than the females who tend to be greenish brown but it does depend on their age and background. The males can also be identified by having a darkish spot at the base of their tail.
They can be found near rocks and eel grass beds. The males build a nest of seaweed although sex reversal has been observed. They feed on molluscs, hydroids, bryozoans, worms and various crustaceans. The males grow faster than the females and can live up to 9 years. At maturity they are approximately 7 -10 cms cm in length but can reach up to 28 cms!
Sadly these beautiful fish have been in decline, as reported in a Guardian article in 2017 . Fewer numbers have also been noticed by English anglers. One of the reasons for this noticeable decline has been due to their use in salmon farms. The Wrasse are used to feed on the lice found on the salmon. 1 wrasse for every 25 salmon are needed . 170,000 Tonnes of salmon are farmed in over 200 places in Scotland! Salmon farmers introduced the use of Wrasse to reduce the use of chemicals. Samuel Stone of the Marine Conservation Society reported that 'large numbers of Wrasse are being taken from local waters without proper management or any indication of its sustainability'.
To end on a positive note, conservationists and anglers are calling for a number of measures to be introduced to tackle the issue.
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