240-mile journey for Shetland bound monkfish – Fishupdate.com

240-mile journey for Shetland bound monkfish Published:  14 June, 2007

Chevonne Laurenson

THE first evidence of a monkfish travelling from Norway to Shetland has been discovered by a Shetland fishing vessel,the Arcturus(LK59.)

The boat found the Norwegian tagged monkfish in its catch while fishing 15 miles north of Balta in Shetland and passed it to the NAFC Marine Centre for investigation.

NAFC Marine Centre fisheries biologist, Dr Chevonne Laurenson, said: “Contrary to common belief that monkfish generally lay on the seabed and didn’t move any great distances, over the last few years, monkfish released in Shetland have travelled in a northerly direction and been recaptured from as far away as Norway, Faroe and Iceland. However, this is the first evidence of a tagged monkfish moving in the opposite direction”.

“On contacting project partners in Norway, we discovered that the monkfish had been tagged off the Norwegian coast on September 30 2003, at a location off the coast of Møre, about 20 miles NNW of Ålesund (62° 43’N 5° 54’E) and 240 miles from where it was recaptured.

“Since tagging it has grown from 50cm to 74cm, equivalent to 6.6cm per year. The growth rate was slower than expected but if the monkfish had been a male, then at that length, it would have been mature and it is normal for growth to slow after maturation as energy is diverted from growth to reproduction. Unfortunately, the fish had been gutted so the sex could not be determined.”

The NAFC Marine Centre (previously the North Atlantic Fisheries College) delivers training, research and commercial services to the marine sector.

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