By all accounts, monkfish is one of the ugliest fish in the deep, having a huge head, tiny eyes and an enormous mouth filled with needle-like teeth. On top of that, to lure other fish into its grotesque mouth, it is equipped with a peculiar apparatus that looks like a spike with a bit of meat on it, which it waves back and forth to entice its prey. Obviously not intended for the display case, the whole fish rarely makes it ashore, since fishermen generally remove the tail and liver at sea and throw the rest back. Tail meats range from 1 to 4 pounds. Most of the livers are exported to Japan, where they are used in soup. Monkfish are found worldwide, but the primary harvesting areas are in the North Atlantic from coastal Norway to the Mediterranean and from the Grand Banks to North Carolina. U.S.-landed monks are taken by trawlers and gillnets and as bycatch from scallop draggers.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.