'Makeovers' Spell Doom for Oceans' Ugliest Fish

Even the once-shunned are now overfished
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 6:32 AM CDT
The goosefish went from "trash fish" to delicacy after fishermen found the tail was tasty and renamed it the monkfish.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Don't like the sound of slimefish fillets? How about some orange roughy instead? Efforts to "rebrand" ugly, unpopular types of fish to make them more palatable to consumers have been successful—too successful, the Washington Post reports. Many species once considered "trash fish" have become dangerously depleted as fishermen run out of popular fish and strategize to make others more marketable, says a new report on the ocean's fish.

But the news isn't all bad. The report—a follow-up to a 2006 study that predicted populations of all popular eating fish would collapse by 2048—found some grounds for optimism despite rampant overfishing. Conservation efforts are paying off in some places, and many depleted species can recover—if given a chance, the report finds. The study shows "what can be done not only to avoid further fisheries to collapse but to rebuild fish stocks," said a scientist.