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Do Fish Smell?

December 20, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey


The Climate Silly Season is still going full blast!



Salmon are losing their powerful sense of smell because of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean, according to new research.

When carbon dioxide in the air is soaked up by a body of water it breaks apart and makes the ocean more acidic.

Scientists found that this increased acidity has a significant affect on how salmon process smells and is causing them to get lost on their trips back to their breeding grounds and making them easy prey for predators.

After exposing the fish to higher levels of CO2, they saw that they were able to smell the odours but their brain did not know how to process them.


While there are generous grants available to research junk science like this, we will continue to be bombarded by this nonsense.

The whole idea that we somehow have a perfect, goldilocks type climate is transparently absurd. Salmon have been around for millions of years, during which time CO2 levels have gone up and down, without any obvious impact on salmon.


While the two things do not necessarily correlate, commercial capture of wild salmon has been steadily rising at the same time as CO2 levels have been increasing.

Commercial capture in tonnes of all true wild salmon species 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO[


The idea that the world’s oceans have a constant PH is in any event a myth. It can vary considerably from one part of the world to another. Not only that, PH levels can fluctuate in specific locations.

Off the coast of Washington, where this new study was based, PH can vary from under 8 to 8.5 . These are not seasonal variations, as the measurements are now only taken during a two week window in May/June each year.



Somehow the fish seem to avoid losing their bearings or getting eaten when PH drops.


What always strikes me about these sort of studies is the assumption that nature is incapable of adapting.

Maybe the salmon in this test did get a bit confused when dumped in lower alkali water. But is it not likely that they, or their offspring, will quickly adapt to changes? Particularly when such small changes are spread over many decades.

  1. Roy permalink
    December 20, 2018 1:20 pm

    The piece of salmon I found at the back of my fridge yesterday certainly smelled.

    • Henning Nielsen permalink
      December 23, 2018 1:19 pm

      Still, not yet so bad for the salmon as in Monty Python:
      “My dog has no nose!”
      “How does it smell?”

  2. John of Cloverdale, Western Australia permalink
    December 20, 2018 1:26 pm

    You ended my night with a laugh. Good night all.

  3. December 20, 2018 1:30 pm

    Human CO2 kills the reef
    Human CO2 makes salmon blind
    Human CO2 will destroy the world
    All 125 ppm
    Never has so little done so much

  4. December 20, 2018 1:31 pm

    Since the levels of CO2 have increased, I’ve noticed I have trouble finding my way back home from the grocery store. I think I’ll apply for a govt grant to study this.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 20, 2018 1:47 pm

      The sad thing is that you may well succeed.

      • John Palmer permalink
        December 20, 2018 7:23 pm

        ….and the Beeb/Grauniad would most certainly publicise your findings!

    • December 21, 2018 12:04 pm

      How many pubs did you visit on your way home? Might explain the problem.

  5. Gerry, England permalink
    December 20, 2018 1:50 pm

    The legacy media are totally useless these days but sadly a lot of people – especially politicians – use it as their only information source. The internet now allows us – those that take the time and trouble – to be more informed thanks to blogs like Paul’s, Anthony Watts, Richard North etc.

  6. Tom O permalink
    December 20, 2018 3:09 pm

    I really would like to see the contraption they used to determine that a.) salmon can still smell, and b.) their brains can’t process that information. Such a device should be useful on politicians to a.) find out if they can think, and b,) who they owe allegiance to.

    • nigel permalink
      December 20, 2018 6:00 pm

      What is also sickening is the usual trick (undoubtedly deliberate, and undoubtedly effective) of putting a lying synopsis of the story on top of the story. Thus, an experiment on water in a condition that MIGHT exist in fifty or a hundred years’ time is described as investigating something happening NOW.

      The headline is all that most people will ever take away.

      So, job done!

  7. Simon from Ashby permalink
    December 20, 2018 3:32 pm

    Over the last 4 decades increased CO2 in the atmosphere has made my hair fall out and turned what’s left grey. The corrollation is quite good. 97% confidence.

    • dave permalink
      December 20, 2018 4:54 pm

      “When carbon dioxide is soaked up by a body of water it breaks apart and makes the ocean more acidic.”

      It is truly disturbing that we must share the world with people so ignorant.
      “Stupid woman!” does not even begin to cover the case.

      • dave permalink
        December 20, 2018 5:21 pm

        Because CO2 does NOT react easily with water, 99.9% of absorbed CO2 simply stays in solution UNDISSOCIATED. Therefore, a thousand molecules of CO2 when absorbed into sea-water only produces ONE H+ . Since this one proton is subject to the buffering capacity of sea water it is clear that ACIDIFICATION is not an issue.

        However, marine life is actually more sensitive, to the partial pressure of CO2 itself, than are land animals like us. And experiments show that there would be effects if the concentration of CO2 went up – way, way way up. Better tell the Chinese .

  8. Hivemind permalink
    December 21, 2018 2:36 am

    Irrespective of the issue of fish smelling, this research certainly does!

    • dave permalink
      December 21, 2018 8:25 am

      The dreaded “scientists” seem to have given the fish some sort of “shock” by dropping them into water which was more acid (or less basic) than they were used to. They only allowed them two weeks to adjust? Fish DO have physiological ways of compensating for changes in pH, but you have to allow them enough time!

  9. December 21, 2018 10:50 pm

    The whole hoax is based on the correlation between temperature and CO2 in ice cores. The temperature leads CO2 by 300 to 500 years. The reason that there is a correlation is that the ocean saturated with CO2 long before humans were a factor. Because the ocean is already has all the CO2 it can hold when it gets warmer it out-gasses CO2. If the temperature goes down it absorbs CO2. SOOO, all this talk is mostly off target and missing the fundamentals of the issue

  10. Henning Nielsen permalink
    December 23, 2018 1:15 pm

    All that co2 in the beer makes it harder for me to find my way home from the pub. This problem is getting worse, and correlates with the increasing co2 level in the atmosphere. If the trend continues, I won’t be back until the cow2s come home. Blame the Koch brothers.

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