What’s your favourite animal? For most people, it can be tigers, wolves, elephants or pandas. After all, who doesn’t love mammals, like ourselves? But we think fish should also make the list. To try and convince you, we’ve brought together five fascinating fish species. Join us in helping to protect the habitat that these fish depend on, become a Wavemaker and show your support for protecting the oceans.
Decorated warbonnet (Chirolophis decorates)
These fancy-looking fish can be found off the coast of British Columbia, usually hiding among seaweed on rocky bottoms. They are named after the prominent tuft on their head, which resembles the feathers in a war bonnet worn in Indigenous communities. There is some speculation around the purpose of this decoration, and one theory is that it helps them camouflage. The rest of their body is actually long and eel-like, reaching up to 42 cm.
Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus)
Flatfish like Atlantic Halibut are born with a normal fish-shaped body and they develop their unique shape over time. As they grow, one eye migrates over to the side and their body begins to flatten, allowing them to swim flush against the ocean floor.
Sockeye salmon are an iconic species with an epic lifecycle that takes them between freshwater and marine environments. They don’t just switch habitats though; they also completely change their look when they return to their natal rivers to spawn. For males, their body turns bright red and they develop a hump on their back. Their jaw also becomes darker, elongated and hooked. Females also change colour, although they are less bright than males.
Atlantic wolfish are a big, long fish, weighing up to 20 kilograms. They have distinctive canine-like teeth that protrude from their mouths, giving them a wolf-like scowl. Wolffish are incredibly well-adapted to cold water conditions and are able to survive in water below 0°C, thanks to high concentrations of an antifreeze compound in their blood.
Cod has played an important role throughout Canada’s history. It used to be the country’s largest—and arguably the most important—fishery. Cod was so significant to the economy of Atlantic Canada that it was called “Newfoundland currency.” Cod in Canadian waters had been exploited so intensely that a moratorium was placed on cod fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1990s. The loss of cod in Canada was the biggest fisheries collapse the world has ever seen.