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Fish #74 CoalfishPollachius virens ~ Peter Slater
Pastel 45 x 35 cm
Also know as: Saithe, Coley, Black, Black Pollock
Distribution: Widespread throughout all UK and Irish waters, but more common in North East England and Scotland.
Feeds on: Mostly other fish such as herring, sand eel and small mackerel. Coalfish will also feed on the seabed for crustaceans and marine worms.
Description: Streamlined body with three dorsal fins. Back is olive green or brown to black with straight, white lateral line. Flanks and belly are white to silver. Lower jaw only protrudes slightly. Very small barbule on chin, although this may be absent on some fish.
Coalfish are a relatively common species around most of the United Kingdom. They are an attractive looking fish with a streamlined body. They feed primarily by hunting other fish but will also scour the seabed for any food which can be found there. For this reason coalfish can be caught by both bait fishing and on lures. (acknowledgement to: British Sea Fishing)
I chose to draw the Coalfish or Coley as I have fond memories of my Dad, who was the Skipper of the Research Vessel 'Bernicia' for Newcastle University, sailing from Blyth Harbour taking me to sea with him as he carried out his survey work for the University Dove Marine Laboratory. He named every creature he brought up from the sea using nets and at times a grab to reach the sea bed species. I loved listening to him as he explained mysteries from a very different world.
My brothers Andy and Roland loved fishing in their spare time and I remember hearing the cry 'it's a Coley' more often than any other they caught, so I felt I wanted to try to capture this prolific fish as a tribute first of all to the fish and then to my family including my Mam who used to cook the catch.
I found while preparing the drawing just how amazing the Coley is to look at, there is a lot more to it than just 'a fish' and I hope I have done it justice for you.
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