National Geographic : 2014 Apr
next ocean life 18 Monkfish are voracious predators. they also happen to be among the most commercially valuable finfish in the northeastern united states. Yet despite the fish’s importance, researchers don’t know cru- cial details about it, including whether it lives in distinct populations. to find out more, national oceanic and atmospheric administration scientists have set up the Monkfish egg veil sighting network. adult monkfish (below) lurk on the ocean bottom, but their eggs—which can emerge a million or more at a time, knitted together in a gauzy veil—float near the water’s surface. people who spot the veils, which may measure up to 40 feet, are encouraged to record their sightings on the network’s website. “the veils are buoyant. they’re built for dispersal,” notes researcher anne richards. tracking them, she says, “will help us understand how monkfish move throughout their lives.” —Rachel Hartigan Shea Protecting monkfish populations may depend on an egg hunt.