Recovery Strategies

Recovery Strategy for the Northern Wolffish (Anarhichas denticulatus) and Spotted Wolffish (Anarhichas minor), and Management Plan for Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) in Canada

Four species of wolffish (family Anarhichadidae) inhabit Canadian waters: Anarhichas denticulatus (northern), A. minor (spotted) and A. lupus (atlantic) in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and A. orientalis in the Arctic Ocean only. In May 2001, A. denticulatus and A. minor were assessed by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) as “threatened” due to declines in their abundance and biomass. This assessment applies to species likely to become “endangered” if limiting factors are not reversed, while “endangered” refers to species facing imminent extirpation or extinction. COSEWIC indicated that over three generations the abundance of these two species had declined by over 90% and extent of distribution had decreased. Specific threats identified by COSEWIC included bycatch mortality in commercial fisheries and habitat alteration by trawling gear. A third species, A. lupus, was assessed by COSEWIC as “special concern”, suggesting that it is particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events but is not endangered or threatened at this time. All three wolffish species where included in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) at the time of the Act’s proclamation in June 2003.

Consultation period: 2018-07-11 to 2018-09-09


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Contact Person(s)

SARA Directorate
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
200 Kent St.
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0E6
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Related Species


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