Anarhichas spp.

Three Canadian "Species at Risk":
Wolffish (Anarhichas spp.)

    There are three species of Wolffish in the Northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlantic or Striped wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) [top], Spotted Wolffish (A. minor) [middle], and the Northern or Broadhead Wolffish (A. denticulatus) [bottom]. They are sedentary and slow growing fish, found in deep waters on the Continental Shelf.

    Wolffish are first Canadian marine "Species at Risk." Under the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA), the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2000 designated the Striped Wolffish as a species of Special Concern ("... particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events...."), and in 2001 designated the Spotted and Northern Wolffish as Threatened species ("...likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed."). Wolffish populations have declined by over 90% since the 1970's. They are caught as by-catch in directed fisheries, and commercial fishing gear destroys their habitat by moving the rocks and boulders under which the wolffish live, spawn, and nest.
Figures © Department of Fisheries and Oceans; text after K. A. Johnstone; all material © 2005 by Steven M. Carr