In the second part of this gripping series, we look at a fish that’s bigger than a banker’s Range Rover and even less attractive. Examples of both can be found at the bottom of the Atlantic around the coast of Iceland.
Saying the Atlantic Halibut is a “large fish” is like saying Lady Gaga occasionally likes dressing up. Even its latin name (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is unusually descriptive.
But that’s basically what it is — an overgrown, obese and somewhat mottled-finned creature with a mouth like a bucket and the combined appetites of Johns Candy and Belushi.
Found throughout Iceland’s seas, this king-sized flatfish grows to over 400kg and can measure over 15-feet long. Being that big, it takes considerable skill and time to land but once on shore you’ll have enough sushi to open your very own chain of edgy fusion restaurants in 101 Reykjavik.
Being the biggest fish in town does have its disadvantages, in that everyone wants to catch you. Both commercial and sport fishermen value the fish highly and Icelandic singer-slash-songwriter Hafdis Huld even wrote a song about getting your picture in the local paper by catching a giant fish. So it’s safe to conclude that landing one of these leviathans is a popular thing to do, even if you have to overcome some obstacles.
The Atlantic Halibut’s numbers have been suffering in recent years due to over-fishing so many are now returned from whence they came, rather than being served up with a plate of chips for dinner. This is good news for Iceland’s biggest native fish but bad news for just about everything else in the sea — the halibut isn’t a fussy or selective diner.
So hopefully those edgy fusion restaurants won’t start springing up just yet. Oh, hang on …
Earlier in this exciting series: The Wolf Fish!