Captain Mike on his bunk inside the wheelhouse of the Miss Larene.

For this episode, we head to the ocean to investigate Eric’s favorite thing in the world: FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISH! In an attempt to discover why so many fish seem to be disappearing from the world’s seas, we stop by the Berkeley Marina to talk with Captain Mike Hudson, a commercial salmon fisherman who witnessed firsthand the California salmon population crash over the last few years.

After three years without a real salmon season, Captain Mike tells us what it’s been like to hang on in the industry, what he thinks contributed to the the crash, and whether things are getting any better. Then we wish him luck, send him out to sea on his boat the Miss Larene, and wait see if he brings anything back.

While he’s out, we stop by the California Academy of Sciences to chat with Dr. Luiz Rocha, the Assistant Curator of Icthyology, about the future of the world’s coral reef fish. Rocha takes us deep into the academy’s enormous underground library of jarred fish specimens to show us how one very small fish could be a harbinger of the fate of other species as the climate warms and as overfishing, coral mining and ocean acidification take their toll on tropical reefs.

Dr. Luiz Rocha and the azurina eupalama.

(Incidentally, podcast listeners, do you think it’s a good thing or possibly a very odd one that on the way out of the Cal Academy we noticed that a mobile chowder truck happened to be parked right behind it? Would you think less of us if you knew that we patronized its services?)

Along the way in our ocean audio adventure, we learn about the last of the Galapagos damsels, what that smell is in the bay, and why one should never rename a wooden boat. And when Mike comes back from his fishing trip, we find out whether the fish are still missing.

Thanks to Captain Mike Hudson for the use of the Captain Mike and the Sea Kings song “Goin’ Fishin’” from the 2007 album “I Send the Ca$h to my Baby.”

Like what you hear and want to stay in touch?

Please help spread the word about The Field Trip Podcast by liking us on Facebook or following @FieldTripLog on Twitter! You can also share this story on Digg or on Reddit or review it on StumbleUpon.

Public or college radio stations that would like to broadcast The Field Trip Podcast can find us at the Public Radio Exchange (PRX.org) or get in touch with us at info [at] fieldtrippodcast [dot] com.

You can also subscribe (free) to us on iTunes to automatically get downloads of future episodes.

A new adventure will be coming your way next Monday.

You can stream the podcast, or click to download, on the player below. Run time: 25:36.

Play