Why We Sucked At Counting Fish (Until Now)

Thanks to for sponsoring this video.
A new fish counting method has revealed there are ten times more fish in the sea than we previously thought.*
*But unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we’re not overfishing.

If you liked this week’s video, we think you might also like these things:
Seeing the Sky as Galileo Saw it:

We try to leave jargon out of our videos, but if you want to learn more about this topic, here are some handy keywords to get your googling started:
– Milky Way: Earth’s home galaxy
– The Malaspina Expedition 2010: A research project to explore ocean biodiversity by recreating the path of a late 18th Century scientific expedition.
– Sonar: A technique that uses soundwaves to map out underwater objects.
– Avoidance of Trawl: A behavior in which fish move out of the way of an incoming net, perhaps through bioluminescent signalling.
– Bioluminescence: Light produced by a living organism.
– Deep water fish: Fish who live more than 500m below the ocean surface in the Mesopelagic, Epipelagic, and Bathypelagic zones.
Species featured in this video:
– Stoplight loosejaws (Malacosteus niger)
– Common Fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta)
– Lanternfishes or myctophids (Family Myctophidae)
– Bristlemouths (Genus Cyclothone): The most populous vertebrate on Earth.

A big thank-you to our supporters on :
– Today I Found Out
– Maarten Bremer
– Jeff Straathof
– Mark Roth
– Tony Fadell
– Muhammad Shifaz
– 靛蓝字幕组
– Jagdtiger
– Alberto Bortoni
– Valentin
– Antoine Coeur

Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Kate Yoshida, Omkar Bhagat, Peter Reich, Rachel Becker
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:


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Kaarvedt, S., Staby, A., Aksnes, D.L. (2012). Efficient trawl avoidance by mesopelagic fishes causes large underestimation of their biomass. Marine Ecology Progress Series,456(1-6). Retrieved from

Broad, W. (2015). An Ocean Mystery in the Trillions. New York Times, D1. Retrieved from:

Xabier Irigoien, T. A. Klevjer, A. Røstad, U. Martinez, G. Boyra, J. L. Acuña, A. Bode, F. Echevarria, J. I. Gonzalez-Gordillo, S. Hernandez-Leon, S. Agusti, D. L. Aksnes, C. M. Duarte & S. Kaartvedt (2014). Large mesopelagic fishes biomass and trophic efficiency in the open ocean. Nature Communications, 5, 3271. Retrieved from

Kaarvedt, S. (2016). Personal Communication.

Duarte, C. (2016). Personal Communication.

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