Climate change can wipe out crops and livestock, but this fish will save us

  • Monkeyface prickleback has been described as the new white meat

  • Scientists believe that this protein-packed fish can save the world if climate change affects the agriculture

Last year, in September experts at the United Nations warned about the rising temperatures, extreme weather and land degradation due to climate change, which can gradually wipe out crops and livestock. But now, scientists have found one fish which they believe could help to feed the entire world.

Scientists at the University of California have found an unusual, protein-packed substance, a fish, which could hold the key to saving the planet. Known as the monkeyface prickleback, this fish has been described as "the new white meat."

The monkeyface prickleback fish
The monkeyface prickleback fish NOAA/MBARI /SWNS

Monkeyface prickleback: A substitute for food

This fish lives in the rocky waters off the West Coast of the US and can grow to three-foot in length and prefers to lurk in reefs and tidal pools. The weight of this water creature is six pounds and it has two small fins hanging like floppy ears near its head, as well as a dorsal fin down its back. As per the findings, this fish can live on land for 37 straight hours because of its unique ability to breathe in under and above the water. It should be noted that in many California-based restaurants, this fish is served as a dish which costs around $15 per pound.

However, scientists now believe that this fish, officially known as Cebidichthys violaceus could be the answer if the world runs out of food supplies. In a recently published study, scientists claimed that they found monkeyface prickleback will help open new doors to industrial aquaculture as it is efficient at surviving on vegetarian foods with low levels of a fatty substance, lipids.

Moreover, the monkeyface prickleback is among just five per cent of the world's 30,000 fish species which are vegetarian. But right now the biggest challenge is what to feed the fish being raised.

A fish to save the planet

Joseph Heras, the lead author of the study said, "Using plant-based food ingredients reduces pollution and costs less. However, most aquaculture fish are carnivores and can't handle plant lipids. Sequencing this genome has provided us with a better understanding of what types of genes are necessary for breaking down plant material."

In addition, Heras also stated that if the additional scanning of fish genomes is possible then it won't be tough to find an "omnivorous fish with the right genes that could provide new candidates for sustainable aquaculture." However, scientists believe that the discovery means that the fish could be particularly a suitable target for breeding in aquaculture.