59" - 120"
The Oilfish is a snake mackerel that remains the only species under its genus. It is usually confused with its relative named Escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum) which contains a high amount of oil as well. The Oilfish is also related to bonitos, mackerels, tunas, and butterfishes, among others.
The Oilfish possesses large eyes, and a torpedo-shaped body covered in dark colored scales, making its skin rough. Its body is brown to dark brown with black tips on its pelvic and pectoral fins. It has 13 to 15 dorsal spines with 15 to 18 dorsal soft rays. It has no anal spine but has 15 to 18 anal soft rays.
Eating too much Oilfish causes keriorrhea which means “flow of wax”.
The Oilfish are carnivorous; they mostly feed on crustaceans, squid, and small fishes. Generally, they can eat anything easy enough to catch and small enough to devour.
Most Oilfish only measure up to 59 inches but they can grow up to 120 inches.
Globally, countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, the US, Sweden, and Germany have already issued health advisories telling their citizens to be wary of eating Oilfish. Despite the health-related cases associated with Oilfish consumption, this species is vulnerable to overfishing because its meat is tasty, succulent, and buttery. Despite its unpleasant gastrointestinal effects, eating Oilfish does not lead to death.
In certain places, the Oilfish are caught using the “palu”, a specialized hook. More commonly, one-way anglers can ensure capturing the Oilfish is to use a deep drop tackle with an electric reel. Sometimes, the Oilfish are accidentally caught in traps for tuna and swordfish. This fish remains a species of least concern according to the IUCN.
The Oilfish are found in temperate and tropical oceans with waters as deep as 660 feet to 1,310 feet. They are located in the middle Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the southern seas.
The Oilfish is a benthopelagic species that love deep waters. They inhabit areas along the seafloor and water columns.