On the hook: Species that live in the Gowanus Canal

On the hook: Species that live in the Gowanus Canal
Associated Press / Carolyn Kaster

The federal officials in charge of cleansing the toxic Gowanus Canal announced they will install signs warning of the health risks that creatures of the deep caught in the waterway pose to anglers. And those who think marine life can’t survive in the fetid channel that has claimed the lives of dolphins and whales — where one fisher claimed to hook a three-eyed specimen — might be surprised to know just how many living things allegedly thrive in its murky waters. Here’s a list of some fish swimming in the Gowanus Canal that locals may also recognize from restaurant menus or their neighborhood market’s seafood section:

Blue crab

These crustaceans found in Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory — which men over 15-years-old and non-pregnant women over 50 can eat up to six times per week, according to Environmental Protection Agency and New York State officials — also feature as ingredients in dishes such as the jumbo lump crab cakes served by Kings County’s eponymous seafood shack, Brooklyn Crab.

Striped bass.
Associated Press / Andreas Fuhrmann

Striped bass

The fish known by its cross-body stripes that run from gills to tail goes for $10.99 a pound at the Fairway supermarket in nearby Red Hook, according to its online inventory. But officials caution that only men older than 15 and non-pregnant women older than 50 should eat any hooked in the Gowanus — and no more than once a month.

Black sea bass

Local seafood slinger Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Co. describes this fish — which it sells for $12.99 a pound and is known to float beneath the canal’s surface — as “mild-tasting.” Men 15 and older and non-pregnant women older than 50 can indulge in locally caught specimens from the Gowanus Canal up to four times a month, according to officials.

Black sea bass.
Associated Press / Northwest Florida Daily News


This species — which the Greenpoint restaurant and market hawks for more than $20 per fish — is also among the channel’s marine life and, similar to the black-sea bass, can make an appropriate meal for non-pregnant women 50 and older and men over 15-years-old no more than four times a month if reeled in from the canal, according to federal and state leaders.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Associated Press / David J. Phillip