We all went “googoo gaagaa” over this little baby Giant Sea Bass last week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Just three inches long, and like a puppy with huge paws, it looks as if it will need some time to grow into those big fins.
25 years from now, when it finally reaches sexual maturity, and its full adult 600 pounds, and six-foot length, our reaction will be more “Wow!” or “Watch Out” than “Ooh, so cute.”
Then for its next 50 years of life, until it dies at 75, this Giant Sea Bass will be the calm, wise yogi of the depths. But for now, little Nemo-esque, it darts and pokes and attracts adoring fans.
It’s the season of the little child: the baby in the manger, the little angels and shepherds in Christmas pageants, the kids in shelters we eagerly shop for. All will grow into adults and get much less love and attention than their cute former selves.
The Aquarium has noticed how our hearts go out to babies; as a very effective way to promote sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation our exhibits often feature baby sharks, baby sea otters, baby turtles – all so little and cute. And all threatened with extinction from human aggression (our hunting, eating, polluting, climate changing.) (Note I said aggression, not ignorance – we know better!) Giant Sea Bass faced extinction as well, until strict fisheries management began to reverse their doom. (Seafoodwatch.org.)
We easily go “googoo gaagaa” over the baby Jesus and keep him a helpless, harmless baby. That’s a good way to begin the relationship, but I’d rather improve the odds that his life and teachings can mature and reproduce. Long-lived yogi of the deep and not just the little cute hatchling.