Now serving sea monsters.

That’s the message from members of the fishing industry, environmentalists and regulators who are trying to persuade U.S. consumers to eat more of a particularly weird-looking creature from the deep – monkfish.

Monkfish have been commercially fished for years, but recent analyses by the federal government show the monster-like bottom dweller can withstand more fishing pressure. However, U.S. fishermen often fall short of their quota for the fish.

A lack of reliable markets for the fish and convoluted fishing regulations make it difficult to catch the full quota, fishermen said. Nevertheless, the U.S. government is upping harvesters’ limits for monkfish for the next three years.

This . . .

Can become this  . . .

Monkfish Cheek with Dulse-Shiitake Emulsion, Seared Shiitakes, Spinach, and Sunchokes. Philip Guerette Photography

Some New England fishermen switched to targeting monkfish in recent decades when traditional species such as cod began to decline, said Jan Margeson, a Chatham, Massachusetts, fisherman who made such a switch himself. He said the availability of monkfish represents an opportunity for the industry.

“It is healthy. We can’t even catch the quota,” he said.

Monkfish, also known as goosefish, are predatory fish that camouflage themselves on the ocean bottom and can grow to be about 5 feet long with a gaping maw and uneven, jagged teeth.

But proponents often say the taste and texture of its flesh is similar to lobster. And monkfish, which is often sold as a whole fish or as steaks of tail meat, frequently is more affordable than some other kinds of domestic seafood.

Tails typically sell for about $7 per pound at New England fish markets where popular items such as lobsters and flounder sell for $10 per pound or more.

The fish is brought to shore from Maine to North Carolina, with most coming to land in Massachusetts.