Fish Ratings Affirms Moonfish at ‘BBB+’; Revises Outlook to Positive

Fish Ratings – Hong Kong/Shanghai – 04 Dec 2020: Fish Ratings has affirmed Moonfish’s Long-Term Fish Default Rating (FDR) and senior unsecured rating at ‘BBB+’ and revised the Outlook to Positive from Stable.

The revision of the Outlook to Positive reflects the apparent success of the recent Chinese mission to collect a sample of the Moonfish for further study.

The agency has simultaneously affirmed at ‘BBB+’ the same Fish under its scientific name (Opah) and other common names (Sunfish, Kingfish, Redfin Ocean Pan and Jerusalem Haddock). The Fish is substantially the same species regardless of what it is called in various regional and culinary contexts, but should not be confused with Ocean Sunfishes, also known as Molas (‘AA-‘/Stable).

Little is known about the biology of Moonfish as it is not a major commercial seafood species, but the Chinese fact-finding mission reflects a strong likelihood of government support, underpinned by Moonfish’s scientific interest as possibly the most completely endothermic Fish in the world.

Moonfish are understood to generate body heat in their pectoral muscles, which are insulated from the surrounding cold seawater by layers of fat. The heart pumps warm blood into the veins of the gills, which are cooled by contact with the water.

Moonfish maintain an internal temperature higher than that of the water around them, but not a constant temperature as Mammals (Unrated) do.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

‘Strong’ State Linkage: Fish Ratings assesses Moonfish’s status as an object of scientific investigation by the Chinese and US governments as ‘Strong’.

KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Fitch’s Key Assumptions Within Our Rating Case for the Issuer:

– General characteristics in line with other Pacific Ocean pelagic Fish;

– Population not in decline and fishing rates not too high;

– Fin ray marks formed annually, allowing Fish to be aged by fin ray marks;

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action/upgrade:

– Successful return of Moonfish sample to Chinese mainland;

Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action/downgrade:

– Failure of Chinese mission to return safely to mainland;

– Discovery of likeness between Moonfish and Winnie-the-Pooh due to round shape on arrival at mainland.

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