SO YOU think you’ve had a bad day? Spare a thought for the world’s most miserable-looking fish, which is now in danger of being wiped out The unfortunately named blobfish has already acquired a reputation for looking sad.
And now it has good reason for its glum expression – scientists are warning over-fishing by trawlers of its south eastern Australian habitat is threatening to make it extinct.
The bloated bottom dweller, which can grow up to 12 inches, lives at depths of up to 800m, so it is rarely seen by humans.
But thanks to increased fishing, the fish is being dragged up with other catches.
Despite being unedible itself, the blobfish lives at the same depths as other more appetising ocean organisms, including crab and lobster.
Deep-sea expert Professor Callum Roberts, from University of York, said the blobfish had plenty to be miserable about.
Prof Roberts, author The Unnatural History of the Sea, said: ‘Blobfish are very vulnerable to being dragged up in these nets and from what we know this fish is only restricted to these waters.
“The Australian and New Zealand deep-trawling fishing fleets are some of the most active in the world so if you are a blobfish then it is not a good place to be.”
“A very large amount of the deep sea is under threat from bottom trawling, which is one of the most destructive forms of fishing.
“There are some deep-water protected areas around sea mounts in the Southern Ocean but that is only really to protect coral and not the blobfish.
“We’ve been overfishing areas up to about 200m deep and now we have moved off those continental shelves and into the deep sea in areas a couple of thousand metres deep.
“In 2006 conservationists came very close to achieving a global moratorium on restricting bottom trawling on the high seas.
“They came within a whisker of that but Iceland rejected it so the United Nations was charged with protecting the deep sea species.
“If you add together all the area of the deep sea that has actually been looked at, then it is an area about the size of Paris – [the rest] is a really unexplored area, but we could be destroying it.” – Daily Mail