Friday, September 13, 2013

The Blobfish

Yesterday, The Ugly Animal Preservation Society voted the blob fish the ugliest animal in the world. In honor of the blobfish, I'm reposting this blog from a little over a year ago.

Today, the Smithsonian came up with a rebuttal, In Defense of the Blobfish. The article includes a picture of what the blobfish would look like if we saw it swimming, supported by the ocean's buoyancy. Be sure to take a look if you'd like to see the blobfish in its full and true glory!

From June 2012: My Tribute to the Blobfish

If you've seen "Men in Black 3" the animal in this picture should look familiar. It's a blobfish. Yes, there really is a fish that looks exactly like Jimmy Durante swimming around, or more accurately, floating around, in the ocean.

The blobfish only grows to about 12" in length. It lives 2,000-3,000 feet below the ocean surface in the waters south east of Australia. That's the same depth that fishermen have to go to catch lobster, crabs, and some of our other favorite seafood that we've fished out from shallower waters. The blobfish has no commercial value: it's inedible.

Blobby has no way to escape the fishing nets because, just like he(she?) looks, he's basically a glob of Jell-O. His body is buoyant and he floats in the water column at a depth of about 800m. He doesn't need muscles or oxygen to swim because he doesn't have to swim.

According to Dr. Callum Roberts, one of the world's most respected experts on marine conservation, the blobfish is in danger of becoming extinct because of overfishing: "The Australian and New Zealand deep trawling fishing fleets are some of the most active in the world so if you are a blobfish then it is not a good place to be."

It's sad that, to satisfy our demand for seafood, we're willing to eliminate animals that most people don't even know about. This isn't a case of "people are starving so we have to do this to feed them." These are high-end seafood products going to feed people who all ready have too much protein in their diets. It's even sadder to think, given the vast ocean, that we're unwilling to protect even small areas of it to ensure ocean resources are around for future generations.

Those grumbling loudest about "traditional values" might want to remember back to the day when saving was a prized value. People delayed gratification, foregoing something now for something better in the future. I hold little hope that the marine environment will improve in the future--not with a world population of 7 billion and growing--but maybe by saving some of it now, we can at least have something left for the future.

If you're worried about the blobfish, or any other animal we might be destroying with poor fishing practices, here are some things you can do:

  • Before you order that lobster, crab, or other seafood item on the menu, find out where it's from. Only order, buy, eat sustainably harvested seafood.
  • Eat lower on the food chain.
  • Support the establishment and management of marine protected areas.
  • Use birth control. (Seriously. Don't you think 7 billion people on the planet is a little ridiculous? You don't really need more than replacement children, i.e. 2 kids per couple?)


Bathroom Reader Institute (2007). Uncle John's Under the Slimy Sea. Bathroom Readers' Press, Ashland, Oregon. 144 pp.

Hough, Andrew (2010). Blobfish: world's most 'miserable looking' marine animal facing extinction. The Telegraph. Available at:
Photo from The Telegraph.


  1. Awesome article! Funny but get the point across. Appreciate that there's a "what you can do about it" part- something that a lot of people fail to mention.