Atlantic Wolffish Ecology Research

Elizabeth Fairchild with wolffish

Atlantic wolffish Anarhichas lupus is classified as a data-poor species, and US landings are prohibited for both commercial and recreational fishers. Complete life history information, including biology, migration patterns, and seasonal movements, is lacking for Atlantic wolffish populations, especially in US waters. Providing accurate stock assessments for Atlantic wolffish is limited by either low fish sample sizes, as is the case for spawning and age and growth analyses, or zero samples, as is the case for population genetic analyses. Only moderate numbers of Atlantic wolffish are encountered during existing scientific survey programs, and those are limited temporally to the spring and fall seasons. However, periodically, Atlantic wolffish are incidental bycatch in hook and line and bottom trawl fisheries. Utilizing the knowledge of commercial fishermen, collaborative research projects have been conducted to improve Atlantic wolffish stock assessments since 2011. These fishery dependent studies have resulted in over 600 fish analyzed for age and growth, maturity, incidence of skip spawning, habitat, feeding ecology, and population genetic analysis.      

Funding has been provided by the NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Program and Northeast Consortium.


  • University of New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries
  • NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Dalhousie University
  • Lisa Ann Fisheries