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At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s

More about Monkfish

Monkfish and goosefish are two species of deepwater fish related to anglerfish.
Goosefish is actually the more common species sold in the U.S., but it is sold under the general name 'monkfish'.



The "American angler" uses a false lure to fish for its food. This fish grows to over 3 feet (0.9 meter) and hovers on the ocean bottom.

Commercial Sources

Goosefish are found in the western North Atlantic, from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida. However, they are rare south of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

The main source of goosefish is the United States.

Note: In the United States, goosefish are often marketed as monkfish.

Capture Methods

Goosefish come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with bottom trawls and gillnets. Additional types of fishing gear include dredges, pots, traps and seines.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Monkfish Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 3
Goosefish Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 3
Eco details: 

The directed fishery for monkfish is relatively new; these fish were once considered nothing more than bycatch. However, as catches of other groundfish like cod and halibut declined in the 1980s and 1990s, more and more monkfish was caught in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. As a result, they, too, became overfished. Now that our scientific understanding of their populations improved and fishing effort declined, monkfish are no longer overfished.

Monkfish are caught with either gillnets or trawls/dredges. Gillnets have minor impacts the bottom, but can have bycatch impacts on protected species. Trawls/dredges impact the bottom more than gillnets, but have fewer bycatch concerns.