Tag Archives: Monkfish

#GloucesterMA Gloucester Fresh in the news: determined leadership Mayor Romeo Theken, et al at Boston SENA rocking ocean to table fare

SENA= Seafood Expo North America, Boston, MA 2018

Article Oldest Fishing Port Shows How It’s Done  by Jason Huffman

“BOSTON, Massachusetts, US — Sefatia Romeo Theken, the mayor of nearby Gloucester, Massachusetts, warns the roughly 70 Seafood Expos North America (SENA) attendees who jam into an upstairs room for her group’s tasting reception that she is hard to say “no” to. Then she proves it by telling everyone to try the monkfish-stuffed rice balls known as arancini…”


Beautiful Fish at the Seafood Expo in Boston and Monkfish Stew Recipe -By Al Bezanson

Gloucester Fishermen’s Monkfish Stew

Excellent! Try it at the Gloucester House!



MONKFISH; ANGLER; ALLMOUTH; MOLLIGUT; FISHING FROG … The first spine bears an irregular leaflike flap of skin at its tip, which plays an important role in the daily life of the goosefish as a lure for its prey … Weighing up to 50 pounds … The goosefish has often been cited for its remarkable appetite. We read, for instance, of one that had made a meal of 21 flounders and 1 dogfish, all of marketable size; of half a pailful of cunners, tomcod, and sea bass in another; of 75 herring in a third; and of one that had taken 7 wild ducks at one meal. In fact it is nothing unusual for one to contain at one time a mass of food half as heavy as the fish itself. And with its enormous mouth (one 3½ feet long gapes about 9 inches horizontally and 8 inches vertically) it is able to swallow fish of almost its own size. Fulton, for instance, found a codling 23 inches long in a British goosefish of only 26 inches, while Field took a winter flounder almost as big as its captor from an American specimen. One that we once gaffed at the surface, on Nantucket Shoals, contained a haddock 31 inches long, weighing 12 pounds, while Captain Atwood long ago described seeing one attempting to swallow another as large as itself.


No regular commercial use has been made of the goosefish in America up to the present time. But it is an excellent food fish, white-meated, free of bones, and of pleasant flavor.

From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953.  Available free online courtesy of MBL/WHOI http://www.gma.org/fogm/Lophius_americanus.htm

If you were a goosefish you would say the “importance” situation has taken a bad turn since 1953.  The 2002, third edition, of Fishes of the Gulf of Maine notes:  Total landings remained at a low level until the mid-1970s, increasing from a few hundred metric tons to around 6,000 mt in 1978.  Landings remained stable at between 8,000 and 10,000 mt until the late 1980s and then increased to a peak level of 26,800 mt in 1996.  Usually only the tails are landed.  There is also a lucrative market for goosefish livers.

In the 1960s the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Technological Lab on Emerson Avenue in Gloucester was involved in marketing support for goosefish (monkfish), then considered an underutilized species.  I worked there at that time and recall Julia Child and the Boston Globe’s food editor, Dorothy Crandall visiting the lab and providing enthusiastic support.  Here’s a 1979 photo of Julia Child with a monkfish.   https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/read/popdy/monkfish/


Al Bezanson


Seafood Myths That pretentious Foodies Will Try To Sell You On…

You know those pretentious “Foodies” that think they know everything there is to know about Seafood?

The next time you’re invited to a cocktail party and they start in on how “Monkfish tastes just like lobster.” You know what you tell them?

Get out my face sucka!” 

That’s got to be one of the biggest laughs know to anyone who has handled or tried monkfish.  Not even close.  But you’ll hear every foodie spout it out.  Idiots.

Next up is that skatewings taste just like scallops.  Another idiotic statement.  You know back in the late 80s early 90s there were days that we’d handle over 10,000lbs of skatewings at under 20 cents a lb.  And some marketing guru at a rag like today’s “Edible Boston” probably got some idea to pitch the idea that skatewing tasted like scallops and the mindless lemmings that most Foddies are, they bought it hook, line and sinker.

You want to know the best underutilized species?  Well I’ll tell you.  Number one and my all time favorite fish fried similar to smelt is Whiting.

Another great one is ocean catfish (also called wolfish).


Monkfish, just like lobster. Winking smile

Skatewing, just like scallops. Winking smile

August 11, 2011 016

So next time you’re at the cocktail party with the pretentious foodie, you tell them to keep the monkfish and skatewing on their side of the table and push the lobster and scallops your way.

Fish on Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

Jimmy Santapaola Jr. and his crew of the Amanda Leigh are setting out early this year for monkfish off of New London, CT. Their catch will be sold primarily to the foreign market and presented on tables stuffed whole.

 Monkfish live on the sea floor and can be found about 30 miles offshore this time of year. As the waters warm up in the spring they will go out about 70 miles. The 12″ mesh net used for trapping them will allow the small ground fish to swim through without being caught.




 Photos © Kathy Chapman 2013

Fish On Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

Heads or tails
Today we shot at the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange where they were processing whole monkfish. The heads are going to NY for the Asian market and the tails will go to Canada.

LgMonkfishTail  CASAlable

Photos and video © Kathy Chapman 2013

Fish on Fridays

The Fish on Fridays series is a collaboration between Gloucester photographers Kathy Chapman and Marty Luster. Look for various aspects of Gloucester’s centuries-old fishing industry highlighted here on Fridays.

Today Kathy is sharing monkfish images. Romeo, the fish buyer for Connolly Seafoods,(www.steveconnollyseafood.com) is pictured at Cape Ann Seafood Exchange as he examines and comments on monkfish as the “poor man’s lobster”. Next image is a beauty shot of the wide smile. The second video is shot at Connolly, of the production line, showing the filleting and skinning of a monkfish tail.


Color photo and videos © Kathy Chapman 2013
http:// www.kathychapman.com

Here are Marty’s photos of Romeo as he inspects the catch and selects his buy at Cape Ann Seafood Exchange. capeannseafoodexchange.com

cropped0116 copy  DSCF0134 copy

B+W photos © Marty Luster 2013

So You Want To Learn About Fish Distribution In Modern Times Locally?

Let Your Boy Joey Explain it For You The Best Way I Know How- Through Pictures and Video


Heather Atwood has been looking for a lead for her upcoming story which you will be able to read in her Wednesday Column in The Gloucester Daily Times.  So to help her sound like she somewhat knows what she’s talking about I was digging through the archives and found these posts from 2008 and sooner that many of our readers probably missed but are essential if you want to understand how fresh fish is distributed in Gloucester in modern times

Gloucester Seafood Display Auction- Market Cod
Grading Fish Inside The Gloucester Seafood Display Auction Video
Gloucester Seafood Display Auction- Monkfish Tails
Gloucester Seafood Display Auction- Grey Sole
Gloucester Seafood Display Auction Diplay Floor Video
Getting Ready To Offload 4:45AM Gloucester Seafood Display Auction
Gloucester Seafood Display Auction With Paul Vitale Part II
Gloucester Dragger Angela Rose Gets Offloaded at The Gloucester Seafood Display Auction
Gloucester Seafood Display Auction-Hake

View From The Western Venture Wheelhouse

Gloucester Seafood Display Auction- Monkfish Tails

About ten years or so ago there was a big push in the culinary world to brand monkfish as “poor man’s lobster”.  It’s quite a stretch if you ask me.  Monkfish doesn’t have half the taste and is way more chewy.  Don’t fall for the ploy.

Monkfish At The New England Aquarium

Before The Gloucester Seafood Display Auction came along and we were handling fish we would handle tons of monkfish.  The boats would sometimes sell them whole and sometimes cut the tails.  When cutting off the heads they lose over half the weight of the fish but the price would go up a ton.  Some people say that monkfish tastes like lobster.  I think that’s a bunch of bull but hey they gotta sell this ugly sucker somehow.  they have it listed as goosefish on the tag at the aquarium but as long as I’ve been in the fish business I’ve never hearda single person in the industry ever refer to it as a goosefish, even the government reports we had to fill out listed them as monkfish.  Here’s the wikipedia page for monkfish


Lysa Leland’s Monkfish Seafood Throwdown Slide Show

Click This Text To See Lysa Leland’s Monkfish Seafood Throwdown Slide Show

Neighbors Michael Tocantis, a Gloucester builder, and Niaz Dorry, director of NAMA, square off at the October 2, 2008 Seafood Throwdown at Cape Ann Farmers’ Market in Gloucester. Secret seafood: Monkfish!

(Thanks Niaz for the heads up)