Introduction
relating fish and humans
Imagine a sparkling day on Sydney Harbour . . . eating creamy Sydney rock
oysters and drinking a glass of fine Australian white wine with a light warm
salty breeze on your face. Look—there’s the Opera House with her shells;
to your left is the Sydney Harbour Bridge (the Coathanger) that each New
Year’s Eve features actual over- the- top fireworks touted as the first to be
seen globally on the first day of a new year. On the water there’s the crazy
skittering of the ferries, sailboats, and kayaks crisscrossing east and west,
north and south. Around Circular Quay the usual huddles of tourists handle
the faux
ugg boots and the didgeridoos made in China. Next to the berth
for the ferry to Manly, Aboriginal musicians play proper didge. Over by the
old shipping wharves—now eye- wateringly expensive real estate—some
young boys but mainly old women and men fish. Many came from Vietnam
on boats years ago, and fresh fish still feeds the family. Day in, day out, they
sit on milk crates fishing under the bridge. Holding all these stories to-
gether is the water of Sydney Harbour—it is normally a color called harbor
green, but sometimes it burnishes to a shimmering near- turquoise. There’s
something like five hundred gigaliters of water in the harbor, an amount
that is called one Sydharb. Below the surface swim some 586 di≠erent spe-
cies of fish. In among the local fish there are now tropical fish who, like the
clownfish in Finding Nemo, ride the East Australian Current over a thou-
sand miles down from the Great Barrier Reef in the north.
It sounds rather magical, and it often is, at least on a surface level. The
reason why you can now go snorkeling in the harbor and encounter tropical
fish is that this part of the Pacific Ocean is warming faster than anywhere
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