After being declared overfished in 1999, fisheries managers adopted a number of conservation measures that led to monkfish, also called angler fish, being rebuilt in 2013. After years of being red-listed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, the fishery was upgrade to “Good Alternative” in 2012.
Current management measures include area closures, area restrictions, annual catch limits, minimum harvest size, and gear restrictions.
Monkfish is primarily harvested for its tail; a long loin of delicious, sweet meat, similar in consistency to lobster or scallops. In recent years, new marketing campaigns have promoted it as an “underappreciated” fish, and fishermen in the Northeast are trying to catch larger amounts to develop new markets for this underutilized fish. Its unique appearance and delicious flavor make it a favorite of many in the region.
Often called the “poor man’s lobster,” monkfish are firm and mildly flavored. Monkfish can be found either fresh or frozen in a variety of preparations including whole, tail fillets either with the skin on or off. The tail meat should have flesh that’s off-white to pale gray when raw. The meat is dense, boneless and firm.
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