Back when I was an undergraduate, my email signature used to feature a ‘Fish of the Month’. This turned out to be popular with email recipients, and members of the University sub-aqua club would look forward to receiving one of my regular rants (I know what you’re thinking: moi, ranting?) on the subject of how people were failing to clean the club equipment properly, or had been leaving some of the regulator medium pressure ports open (I mean, seriously, people) – so that they could discover the identity of the latest Fish of the Month.
It is time to for this tradition to be resurrected (I’m writing this on Easter Day, after all) in the new, glorious form of a regular blog post series. So without further ado, allow me to introduce the Fish of the Month for April 2010…..
Brosme brosme: The torsk, also referred to as tusk, cusk.
Image: Brosme brosme at rest on the seabed, next to the leg of a North Sea oil platform at ~140m depth. Also present is a common starfish (Asterias rubens). Image Source: SERPENT Project
You may recognise this image from the avatar I use here on the blog and on twitter. A member of the Lotidae (a group of fishes closely related to the gadoids or cod-fishes), they are a relatively common species in the western and eastern North Atlantic, and are quite easily distinguished from other cod-like fishes by their single continuous dorsal fin.
I have a bit of a fondness for this species, as I have spent many hours watching footage collected during structural inspections of offshore platforms in the North Sea, and these fish are ubiquitous around the deeper and more northerly platforms. Their typical habitat is rocky seabed and deep reefs, but they seem to be equally at home around oil rigs, often to be seen cruising leisurely along horizontal members (no sniggering), or up and down the legs. They seem to be unperturbed by the presence of ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), and even sometimes appear to be a little curious.
Apparently they also taste good, but I’ve never tried them myself.