Marine biologist captures stunning photos of fish living in trash
A marine biologist and underwater photographer has shared some amazing photos of fish living in trash that he encountered during his dives in Indonesia. Dr. Alex Mustard, who often does collection dives to remove trash from the ocean floor, said he always checks any plastic items to see if any marine life has made a home out of them.
In March, he came across a tiny fish couple who had moved into a discarded toothpaste tube. The pygmy gobies, which are very small fish that look for protected areas to lay their eggs on, had chosen the tube as their home and seemed unfazed by Mustard’s presence. He managed to capture some adorable shots of the fish peeking out of the tube and showing off their new abode.
“The toothpaste tube had algae growing on it — so it must have been in the water some time,” Mustard told The Dodo. “But the opening is a bit too small for most fish. These pygmy gobies are very tiny.”
Mustard said he had never seen a toothpaste tube being used as a fish home before, but he had seen other examples of human trash being repurposed by marine life. “On this trip, I also saw a fish living inside a shoe and a sea slug laying eggs on a thin plastic bag billowing in the current,” he said.
Mustard hopes that his photos will raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean and inspire people to take action to protect the environment. He said he focuses on images that will catch the eye and then remind people that the problem is still there.
“Several years ago, people weren’t so aware of the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, so I’d try and take shocking pictures to make people aware of the problem,” Mustard said. “Now most environmentally interested people are aware of the problem, so I focus more on images that will catch the eye and then remind them that the problem is still there.”