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Fish #141 Bogue Boops boops ~ Rachel Rolph
Collage 41 x 59 cm
At first glance, the bogue may appear to be a dull fish, especially next to the iridescent patterning of a mackerel's back or the lazy grace of a basking shark. Look closer, however, and thin golden stripes can be seen running from head to tail, adding an extra sparkle to its slender silver body, and its eyes are strikingly large, hence the name boops - "cow-eyes". While bogue have been known to reach 40cm in length, these gregarious fish usually grow to 20cm on a diet of crustaceans, plankton and seaweed. Schools can generally be found down to 100m in waters from Norway to Angola and they rise to the surface at night.
With a conservation status of Least Concern, the bogue is currently living in harmony with the fishing industry, which fishes bogue for human consumption and for use as bait. However, a study found that the communities of parasites hosted by bogue had been significantly altered by the effects of an oil spill, proving that the balance between humans and the oceans is a precarious one.
Despite its obvious use and apparent abundance, the bogue is an unknown fish to many - I had never heard of it before this project, and chose it as my subject because of its interesting Latin name rather than any prior knowledge. A search for appearances of bogue in art, folklore and literature led me only to a postage stamp from Oman, indicating perhaps that the bogue has been bypassed by artists and storytellers in favour of more glamorous fish. After being neglected by artists of the past, it surely deserves its place as one of the North Sea's #200fish.
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