« Previous | Main | Next »

It's early days

Eddie Mair | 11:29 UK time, Wednesday, 22 November 2006

but the interview I'm most looking forward to today (and when I say it's early days - we haven't even phoned the guy yet to ask if he's interested) is with a chap (scientist of some kind) who says fish are smart and have much better memories than people. Apparently some fish have memories of things that happened three years ago! I have so many questions I want to ask.

We got an email today from someone jumping the gun re photos. Naughty! We're not quite ready to announce the thing yet ( legal bits and pieces ) but it will be quite specific, so sending pictures now would be pointless I'm afraid.

But never mind all that. How do you test a fish's memory? I'll be very disappointed if The World at One does with that story what it's just done with our planned lead, and bloody nicked it.


  1. At 11:46 AM on 22 Nov 2006, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    Aw, Eddie. Hope you get the interview.

    Fish have got great memories. How else can you explain the way our goldfish know exactly who gives them food after 6 months of sulking at the bottom of a cold garden pond, and exactly which bit of the edge to congregate at in order to get fed?

  2. At 11:49 AM on 22 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    We had a tropical tank when I was a kid and Dadbought a Siamese fighter, which started eating all the Guppies.

    Now the other guppies never seemed to realise or remember that it wwas sensible to hide from the fighter even after they had witnessed their brothers and sisters being eaten.

    Memory - I'm not sure about

    Thick as hell though

  3. At 11:49 AM on 22 Nov 2006, Freaky fast cat wrote:


    What whizzes along the riverbed on three wheels?

    A motor-pike and a side-carp.

  4. At 11:52 AM on 22 Nov 2006, RobbieDo wrote:

    Don't have the answers but here's a question for your interviewee

    Does “olfactory imprinting” – the smell memory that salmon are supposed to use to get back to their spawning ground count as true memory?

  5. At 11:54 AM on 22 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    This raises a number of questions:

    Who are all these people?
    Who am I?
    What's a Blog?
    How are fish supposed to type, they only have fins?

  6. At 12:29 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Mrs Trellis wrote:

    I dont know about the fish but how many of you remember these: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1964to1979/filmpage_armyrec.htm

  7. At 12:36 PM on 22 Nov 2006, silver-fox wrote:

    Smart fish.

  8. At 12:53 PM on 22 Nov 2006, coco wrote:

    I have a question: Do fish have senior moments?

    Bad, World at One, bad bad bad.

  9. At 12:55 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    You can't expect the fish to remember what YOU were doing three years ago, so most of those questions won't be answered .....

  10. At 01:01 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Belinda wrote:

    A few years ago when I kept fish, I tried replicating the Pavlov dog experiment with fish, by ringing a bell before I fed them. Eventually it did work, I rang the bell (at different times of the day) and the fish automatically went to the top of the fish-bowl without any food being present. It did take about 3-4 months of this before I got anywhere. And yes, I am that sad.

    So yes, I agree, fish do have memories and goldfish are particularly good.

  11. At 01:10 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    I herd that goldfish were supposed to have a 15-second memory, which is why they don't get bored swimming round and round their bowls

  12. At 01:13 PM on 22 Nov 2006, ian wrote:

    Don't forget to call him!

  13. At 01:24 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Mrs. Naughtie wrote:

    Fish have very good memories. I have never known one who needed to resort to keeping a diary.
    I have yet to meet a fish who possessed a mobile telephone. I think they are telepathic.

  14. At 01:36 PM on 22 Nov 2006, joe wrote:

    Make him listen to the weather forecast and see how much he remembers.

    You could try that with the fish as well.

  15. At 01:47 PM on 22 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Can you ask the fish where the WMDs are? no-one else seems to know...

  16. At 02:03 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Fish don't use mobiles cos they haven't got thumbs to txt wth

  17. At 02:05 PM on 22 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    well my Tai Chi teacher is always saying profoundly that 'memory is cellular' so if fish have cells then they must have memory too.

  18. At 02:23 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Mrs Trellis (6): Doesn't everyone look crisp!

    You could slice tomatoes with the seams on the stewardess's tights.

  19. At 02:32 PM on 22 Nov 2006, luc wrote:

    You test a fish's memory on a scale of 1 to 10.

  20. At 02:38 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    He did, didn't he. I heard that tone in his voice as he signed off as I went to walk the dog - giggling at the perfidy of your fellow reporter.

  21. At 03:14 PM on 22 Nov 2006, RobbieDo wrote:

    Frances O (16)

    That's just plain silly - they could use their fish fingers.

  22. At 03:55 PM on 22 Nov 2006, HelenSparkles wrote:

    @ 15.44 you're home free with the scientist, & be smug that TWAO didn't do nearly as good a job of that item as you would have, I didn't listen to it but am confident in my assumptions!

    I once got a lift to Inverness station (from Moniach Mor) with a chap who had been a marine biologist in a previous life, & shall never eat dover sole again as a result. However posh the place, & it doesn't matter what they do to it, flatfish swim along the bottom picking up the debris...

  23. At 04:03 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    Someone needs to find Nessie and ask about our ancient history.
    Do fish have memory or is it instinct?

  24. At 04:49 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    I drink like a fish and can't remember anything afterwards.

  25. At 04:57 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Helensparkles (22), well, what about Cod. Preserve the species by learning how they eat, what you might find in a cod fish finger (or fish and chips) and you'll not have another piece of that, either. Found the haddock fish fingers thanks to Sara, but (sorry,forgot who), still not found any Hoki fish fingers.

    WaO was not that brilliant (but the signal kept fading today in the car).

    I always think it a shame it's acronym is not "What ho!" which is more or less how Nick Clark pronounces it.

  26. At 05:01 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    RobbieDo, I spose they could (giggle, btw), but everyone knows you txt w yr thmz

  27. At 06:42 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Fifi (24) ROFL! I bow to a perfectly timed bon mot :-)

  28. At 07:19 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Frances, RobbieDo, Fifi, :-D

  29. At 09:06 PM on 22 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Always a pleasure, Appy

  30. At 09:36 PM on 22 Nov 2006, whisht wrote:

    PM - picking up the scraps from the World at One's dinnertable...

    now there's a strapline I don't think will be used.... mainly cos its entirely unfair...

    I missed the interview. How was it?

    whaddya mean you can't remember...?

  31. At 02:40 AM on 21 Dec 2007, dianamosely wrote:

    Do u think i could test my line of makeup on a goldfishy?? or would it turn into sum little rascally tiger?? Eddie i need to kno becuz they put me in jail for testing it on bunnies they turned into rascally little tigers but... i didnt mind

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.