Alaska fisherman hooks and cooks blue-fleshed fish: ‘Mother Nature is incredible’

An Alaska fisherman is showing off an unusual catch – a rock greenling. 

It might not sound that impressive, but the eye-popping rare fish truly looks too out-of-this-world to be real – but it is. Blue meat and all. 

Rock greenlings are part of the common species of greenling fish. Rock greenlings in particular are found along the Pacific Coast, from the Bering Sea in Alaska to Point Conception in California, though the species is fairly uncommon further south. 

Rock greenlings aren’t an impressive catch size-wise; they only get up to about 24 inches in length and less than 2 lbs. in weight. 

But in trying to snag one of the rare ones that have the cool blue hue, they become worthy of the chase.

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Their body varies in color from green-ish to brown, and most males tend to have red blotches on the side, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Their interior can be even more magical, with a blue mouth and flesh as bright as anything you’d see in a candy shop.

Joe Chmeleck caught one in late August in Homer, Alaska. He owns a fishing lodge in the area called The Lodge at Otter Cove.

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The "incredible" colors of a rock greenling. Photos: via Storyful

"We caught the fish in 40 feet of water while rock fishing," he said. "When we are rock fishing, about one in 40 are these blue fish."

Hundreds of people were stunned when they saw Chmeleck’s pictures on social media

Many commented on how beautiful the fish looked.

"Probably where one fish, two fish, (red) fish, blue fish came from," another joked. 

The color is caused by a green bile pigment called Biliverdin, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Donald Arthur told Alaska News Source.

While scientists know where the blue pigment comes from, they are still unsure why fish produce it. It could be a result of UV radiation, diet or genetics, Arthur said.

When the fish is cooked, the blue color fades away. Chmeleck also posted a video of him cooking the fish to demonstrate how the meat will turn white. 

He said it tastes like trout. 

This story was reported from Detroit. Storyful contributed.