The Scariest Fish by Debbie Kay
Happy Halloween, everyone. This year, we present you with ten of the scariest fish you may encounter. They aren’t all the scariest looking, but instead, they may cause you the most problems in one way or another. Read on to see who makes the cut for scariest-fish of 2016:
The Undead Award: Halibut
Halibut is the fish that will not die. NOAA did a study on Pacific Halibut to try and figure out how delicate they are when they are caught and released by longliners. Turns out, not so much. Fish were examined, tagged, and given a health score before being released back into the water. Both living and dead fish were tagged and returned. Surprisingly, many of the fish that had been out of the water, were unresponsive and presumed dead were found a season later to be alive and well.
The Zombie Apocolypse Award: Carp
If there is a species that will take over our waterways to the exclusion of all other life, it is the carp. They can live in water that is warm and very low in oxygen, and water that is highly polluted. They breed prolifically and are poised to take over the world.
The Black Widow Award: Lionfish
Though lionfish is becoming a popular Florida whitefish, in no small part because of the fishing derbies and other methods used to try and limit populations of this invasive coastal reef fish, it can be poisonous if you are not careful. The fish use a venom as a protection method from predators. If you manage to stick yourself with the sharp spines on your fins, be prepared for pain, swelling and maybe blisters. Provided you clean it properly, you won’t be affected.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon Award: Northern Stargazer
This typically deep water fish made news during the summer of 2016 as it was spotted in the surf on Virginia Beach. Stargazers get their name due to the fact that they bury themselves completely in the sand with only their face staring up at the sky remaining visible. This is their method to snag unsuspecting prey. Though they’re too small to have a strong bite for barefoot beachgoers, stepping on them directly can give you an electrical shock.
The Jaws Award: The Great White Shark
Though shark attacks happen, this award is being given out not because it attacked fishermen (though there was one report this year). Instead, a Great White off the coast of the North Atlantic snagged the tail off of a large tuna that the fishermen had spent the last 30 minutes reeling in. The chomp made a fish that would have been worth $3K at market into an unsalable sushi and tuna steak party for the fisherman and his family.
The Friday the 13th Award: The Alabama Sturgeon
Okay, so sturgeon aren’t the scariest fish. But they do have something in common with the masked horror villain of the 80’s and 90’s. Decades after the last sturgeon was seen, this fish has returned- a series of eDNA samples in 2016 confirmed this.