Amusing Monday: Market removes scary monkfish

When folks from out of state visit my family, we often make a trip to Seattle’s Pike Place Market, where we inevitably stop by the Pike Place Fish Market.

“There’s a really ugly fish over there,” I’ll say to my friends or relatives. “It’s known for its aggressive nature and ability to escape. This is a rare chance to see one, so get down there and take a close look at its teeth.”

As they lean down, one of the fish vendors will pull a string and the dead monkfish will jump at them. Needless to say, just about everyone recoils in alarm, becoming the latest victim of the great monkfish attack.

Check out this amusing video on YouTube, in which the camera operator herself becomes the victim.

I always believed monkfish were an ugly scrap fish that you might catch but would never eat, something like ratfish. I guess that’s the way it used to be, but now they’re actually considered a “delicious eating experience” by many cooks. Check out Squidoo.com for some basic information on monkfish.

Before you go out and buy monkfish for dinner, I would like to take you in a different direction. Monkfish have been over-exploited, taken in bottom trawls that catch everything and damage habitat, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, which rates monkfish as a fish to “avoid.”

The latest news, which comes via Gary Chittim of King-5 News, reveals that Pike Place Fish Market is taking extra care to offer only sustainable seafood. In pursuit of that mentality, vendors will no longer use monkfish to frighten people. (See video this page.)

It appears they’ll try to keep the gag going with a fish that is less ugly but more sustainable, according to Gary’s piece. We’ll have to see if a rockfish has as much effect.

By the way, if you want to remember our old friend the monkfish, buying a T-shirt might be the sustainable thing to do. Café Press offers some gems, including, “Give me monkfish or give me death,” “I speak monkfish,” “Raised by monkfish” and “Monkfish in training.”

And if you want to see a real monkfish attack, click on this YouTube video.

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