Cornish cod catastrophe

Photo credit: Joachim S. Müller

Fish love may be doomed – potentially putting the whole cod species at risk.

Cod that migrate away from their traditional spawning grounds change their accents, and scientists have found that they don’t understand each other and refuse to mate.

An expert from Exeter University spoke to us at BBC School Report and explained that cod, which make sounds with their swim bladders to attract mates, may have regional accents, and if males cannot attract females who speak a different dialect it could threaten their chances of breeding.

There are also concerns that noise pollution from different boats and other activities could be drowning out the “talking” cod need to do to decide territories.

Cod fish use sounds that are similar to a love song to attract a mate, explained Prof Steve Simpson, and this may be the reason they are dying out.

Prof Steve Simpson, from the University of Exeter, who is leading the research, said cod had a series of vocalisations, with the ability to change the patterns of their sounds, producing thumps, growls and different frequencies.

We found this very interesting so we interviewed Professor Steve Simpson from Exeter University, we asked him why they thought they may have accents, and it may be affecting breading and he told us that birds have different dialects so cod may as well. He said they tested this theory by recording cod at different spawning zones and looking and comparing the differences.

We asked him why this would be happening now and he said it was due to climate change and over time Cornish waters have raised one and a half degrees and this is causing them to migrate further north.

Reported by Charlie Barnecutt, Year 10

BBC School Report