Prior to the 1980's monkfish was practically nunheard of and was only ever used as a substitute for lobster or other fish in stews. Its visibility was dramatically increased thanks to the first celebrity chefs like Keith Floyd and more recently Rick Stein.
As a whole fish many think it to be a monster from the deep, with its hugely disproportionate head, dark mottled skin and massive mouth full of jagged sharp teeth. They are indeed a predator of the deep, although we actually think they are quite stunning, even as a whole fish!
Many Monkfish fisheries were over-exploited in the 1990's, but we are very fortunate that the South West fishery is the one British fishery in which Monkfish numbers are considered sustainable. The catch method is usually beam trawling which is destructive, although increasingly boats in the South West are using rollers and benthic release panels to reduce seabed damage and reduce bycatch respectively.