Fish on Fish, fished from the files

This old newspaper clipping [the ultimate source of which we do not know] shows Fish — the famous Fish of Fish & Mowbray, authors of the book Sounds of western North Atlantic fishes; a reference file of biological underwater sounds (Fish, M.P. & Mowbray, W.H., 1970, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press).

Fish is on the right. The clip identifies her as Mrs. Charles J. Fish. She’s better known in the fish research community as Marie Poland Fish. Because she married a Fish, she became a Fish. The Fish who married her remained a Fish; in one kind of just world, he would have become a Poland.

The New York Times wrote, upon her death in 1989:

Marie Poland Fish, an oceanographer and marine biologist whose research in underwater sound detection helped the United States Navy to distinguish schools of fish from submarines, died yesterday at the Mediplex Nursing Home in Westport, Conn. She was 88 years old and had lived for many years in Kingston, R.I.

In 1966 Dr. Fish was awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, its highest decoration for a civilian, for her two decades of work in bioacoustics under contract to the Office of Naval Research. Most of her work was conducted at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Marine Laboratory in Kingston, which was founded by her husband, Dr. Charles Fish.

To enable antisubmarine vessels properly to identify enemy targets and avoid attacking whales or schools of smaller fish, she recorded and analyzed the sounds of more than 300 species of marine life, from mammals to mussels….

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