orange roughy

For centuries, orange roughy went mostly unnoticed by humans. These fish thrived in the dark, the cold, and the intense pressure of the deep sea. When fishing boats started reaching new depths in the 1970s, orange roughy were fished almost to extinction. Today, orange roughy are protected by fishing limits. But it will take decades for their populations to recover.

orange roughy
Scientific name: Hoplostethus atlanticus
Size: one foot long
Weight: two pounds
Habitat: deep seas around the world, with the largest population near New Zealand
Diet: fish, squid, and crustaceans
Characteristics: reddish body, large head
Major threat: overfishing

Image credits: main image, courtesy of USDA, Office of Seafood and Office of Regulatory Affairs, Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia.