A picture of a humphead wrasse circulating on the internet is nothing unusual, but this rare find was out of the ordinary because it was not taken on a sports fishing boat.
‘Neo Soo Thiam Alvin’ (online moniker) posted an image of the endangered fish in a group on Facebook yesterday.
The fish was seen laying on a bed of ice (see photo above).
The caption read: “In Singapore, Kovan wet market.”
With over 200 ‘likes’ on the social media platform, this post is on the verge of getting viral.
However, this is not the first time the endangered fish has ended up in a wet market.
Another user ‘Delwyn Lau’ (online moniker) shared, on the same thread, another image of a humphead wrasse laying on an ice box, apparently in a market in Chinatown.
He wrote: “Chinatown market still have. Yesterday (I) saw, but small one.” (sic)
Interactions on this Facebook post showed that the wrasse’s flesh is in high demand and may be sold at exorbitant prices—$120-150 per kilogram.
There was also evidence which indicate that there are suppliers of this fish operating in Singapore.
Unsurprisingly, there are game fishermen who shared their disdain for the fishmongers who put the wrasse on sale.
“Why isn’t (the wrasse) released? (There) are not many left in the wild,” ‘Lim Jin Wei’ (online moniker) said.
‘Kevin Heng’ (online moniker) also felt that if the wrasse was caught and released, and not eaten, the eco system could benefit.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has officially classified the humphead wrasse as a species that is endangered and to this day, the non-government organisation (NGO) constantly reminds authorities to stop the trade and consumption of this fish.
The wrasse can be found in waters around Southeast Asia, can grow to lengths exceeding six feet and live up to 30 years.
They are considered to be the most expensive live reef fishes in the world.
Factors that make them endangered include their tasty flesh and their sluggish reproductive cycle—it takes them four to six years to reach sexual maturity.