Goosefish Lays Veil Holding 1 Million Eggs
New England Aquarium
The monkfish, or goosefish, lays its eggs in the form a veil that can be up to 60 feet long.
April 25, 2012 -
Whole Foods, the Texas-based natural foods supermarket, no longer carries fish considered to be unsustainable. The Whole Foods ban includes fish that is either overfished or caught in a harmful way, according to their website. The popular Atlantic Halibut made the list, though the company will still sell Atlantic cod that is caught by hook and line or gillnets. "Stewardship of the ocean is so important to our customers and to us," David Pilat, the global seafood buyer for Whole Foods told the New York Times. "We're not necessarily here to tell fishermen how to fish, but on a species like Atlantic cod, we are out there actively saying, 'For Whole Foods Market to buy your cod, the rating has to be favorable.'" Here's a look at the list of fish that the superstore no longer sells and why.
Octopus Whole Foods uses ratings set by the Blue Ocean Institute, a conservation group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. The ratings are based on factors including how abundant a species is, how quickly it reproduces and whether the catch method damages its habitat.
Imported Wild Shrimp "At Whole Foods Market, we've been saying that our mission is to sell only wild-caught fish that has been responsibly caught. For a few years now, we've used color-coded sustainability ratings, from green (best choice) to red (avoid), to help you make an informed choice. Now we're putting our mackerel where our mouth is: To support greater abundance in our oceans, we're no longer carrying red-rated wild-caught seafood!" the company wrote on its blog.
Tuna (from specific areas and catch methods rated "red") On their website, Whole Foods says that they stopped selling "species that were extremely depleted in the oceans, such as orange roughy, shark and bluefin tuna" years ago. The company uses the sustainability ratings of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Rockfish According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, "In recent years, reduced fishing has allowed many rockfish populations to recover from low levels. Gear concerns remain, however -- trawl-caught rockfish should still be avoided."
Swordfish Some of the gear used to fish swordfish "accidentally catches sea turtles, seabirds and sharks," according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Skate Wing Skates are in the overfished category. Most are also caught with bottom trawls, which result in high levels of accidental catch.
Sturgeon According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, "Sturgeon farmed in the U.S. is a good alternative to most wild sturgeon, whose populations have seriously declined due to overfishing for sturgeon eggs (caviar)."
Tautog Also known as black fish, Tautog are considered a "vulnerable" species. They are found close to shore on hard-bottom habitats, occasionally entering brackish water.
Trawl-Caught Atlantic Cod Fishermen often catch cod with bottom trawl, large nets that skim across the seafloor. Trawling, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, "damages marine habitats and produces bycatch."
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Turbot A cousin of Pacific halibut, turbot are a right-eyed flatfish -- as they develop, their left eye migrates across the top of the skull toward the other eye on the right side. Turbot are yellowish or grayish-brown on top and paler on their underside.
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Goosefish, also known as monkfish, may be among the most aesthetically challenged creatures around, but when the homely bottom-feeders lay their eggs, they create something beautiful: a gauzy, billowy veil that drifts in the ocean for days.
On Monday afternoon (Sept. 23), a female monkfish at the New England Aquarium in Boston laid her third egg veil this year.
The veil looks something like a 60-foot-long (18 meters) sheet of delicate bubble wrap, covered in about a million pinhead-sized eggs waiting to be fertilized. (See Images of the Goosefish's Amazing Egg Veil)
"In the wild, when the female is swimming around releasing the egg veil, the male is swimming around her and as they intertwine, the male releases its sperm," aquarist Bill Murphy, of New England Aquarium, told LiveScience.
The aquarium's female fish doesn't have a male counterpart, so these eggs won't result in any offspring. (Murphy said he tried putting two of the fish in one tank before, but they are a solitary, predatory species, and the pairing didn't work out.) For now, visitors will be able to see veil float around in the goosefish's tank until it starts to rot.
Murphy said he didn't catch the veil-laying on Monday, but in the weeks leading up to the moments-long event, there are usually signs that a sheet of eggs is coming — namely, the fish starts looking bloated.
"She looks huge, like she swallowed a beach ball," Murphy said.
Monkfish are anglerfish that sit, partially buried, at the bottom of the ocean, attracting prey with a lure in the form of a flap of skin that looks like a small fish, Murphy said. When its victim is close enough, the monkfish opens its big mouth suddenly, creating a vacuum to suck in its prey.
The fish can grow to be more than 5 feet long (1.5 meters) and are found throughout New England, at depths ranging from 10 feet to 200 feet (3 to 60 m). Monkfish can also be found on dinner plates, and are sometimes nicknamed "the poor man's lobster" because of their muscular tails.
This article originally appeared on LiveScience.com. More from LiveScience.com:
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