Blobfish: The Loss of an Icon

Informative Article


Blobfish are falsely portrayed in the media. Most people know of them as the “ugliest creature on the planet” as they don a long nose and frowning mouth. However, they do not know that they’ve never actually seen this grumpy-melted-Pokemon-like fish, but its corpse.


Blobfish are falsely portrayed in the media. Most people know of them as the “ugliest creature on the planet” as they don a long nose and frowning mouth. However, they do not know that they’ve never actually seen this grumpy-melted-Pokemon-like fish, but its corpse.


This fish species, scientifically called Psychrolutes Marcidus, inhabits the bottom of the ocean. According to the article “What’s the Scoop on Blobfish”, when blobfish are in their natural environment they have an ordinary fish-like appearance. Blobfish tend to live at least 20,000 feet underwater where the water pressure is extremely high. The gelatinous blob-like composition of the fish makes it easier to move across the ocean floor and prevents it from getting crushed by the water pressure. However, when the fish is pulled to the surface of the ocean, the pressure causes it to lose the outer layers of its skin. The harsh reality is that the images that have gained popularity on the internet are ones of a mutilated corpse.


Endemic to the coast of Australia, blobfish populations are minute. Deep-sea fishing has further endangered the already minimal blobfish populations. This is where the three different perspectives to this Trilemma are presented: does the value of various deep sea-creatures, specifically the blobfish, outweigh the benefits of deep-sea fishing, or is there a neutral perspective?


The Environmentalists Perspective


As bottom feeders, blobfish play an important role in keeping the ocean ecosystem clean from excess plant matter. It is revealed in the article “What the Heck is a Blobfish” that fishing trawlers (commercial fishing vessels) can capture a large number of blobfish and other sea creatures as the nets are dragged across the ocean floor. During this time, a captured blobfish’s delicate features are transformed due to the sudden change in pressure when it is brought up to the surface, resulting in a deformed cadaver. And because blobfish are not edible due to their acidic flesh, they are only victims of overfishing and nothing more.

The blobfish (Psychrolutes Marcidus) underwater

According to the article “Blobfish — 10 Facts about the Kings and Queens of Ugly”, blobfish are now considered an endangered species because of deep-sea fishing and are valued organisms for environmentalists to keep alive. To solve this issue, some hardcore environmentalists suggest to completely abolish deep-sea fishing in hopes of saving the blobfish population and other deep-sea creatures.


The Fisherman Perspective


Deep-sea fishing allows fishermen to catch a variety of animals like bottom crawlers (lobsters and crabs). These crustaceans are known as a rich delicacy in numerous countries like Japan,

Deep-Sea commercial fishing

Malaysia, and Tanzania. Continuing to deep-sea fish allows fishermen to catch these creatures in large amounts efficiently. Deep-sea fishers who work for commercial companies earn an annual average salary of $37,000. As their primary source of income, these fishermen solely depend on this industry as a livelihood. Therefore, cutting this sector out completely would leave thousands of fishermen unemployed. Also, blobfish do not directly benefit the underwater ecosystem and are not essential for its well being. Hence, some may argue that the benefits of deep-sea fishing outweigh the risks of endangering blobfish and other deep-sea creatures.


The Neutral Stance


The iconic blobfish, contrary to popular opinion, is nothing more than an ordinary fish. Due to the lack of efficient commercial fishing methods, the blobfish are non targeted organisms that are captured during mass deep-sea fishing operations; the overfishing of this species has driven it to endangerment.


Despite all the harm that deep sea fishing causes blobfish and other deep-sea animals, eliminating it is not a realistic response. Deep-sea fishing allows fishermen to capture large amounts of underwater crustaceans efficiently; these crustaceans are rendered as popular dishes in numerous countries around the world. The only thing we can do is to urge commercial fisheries to reduce this practice and promote sustainable and efficient alternative fishing methods to reduce the number of unwanted, yet victimized, deep-sea animals like our one and only iconic blobfish.