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Anarhichas Minor

Anarhichadidae

Perciformes

Atlantic Coast

61 pounds

12" - 71"

Spotted Wolffish Game Fish Quality Poor
Spotted Wolffish Meal Quality Excellent

Spotted Wolffish

Spotted Wolffish
Also Known As: Leopardfish

Spotted Wolffish (Anarhichas minor) Fish Description

The Spotted Wolffish is a large predatory fish called such because of its canine-like front teeth. It has small eyes and a rounded snout with a blunt, heavy head making it look intimidating rather than friendly. Its color may vary from brown to olive. One can sometimes have black or brown spots in irregular shapes right at the upper part of its body.

It spawns as early as the end of fall but usually in winter. One can produce 54,600 eggs and is guarded by its male counterpart. A Spotted Wolffish matures at seven years old and can live up to 21 years.

With its strong teeth, a Spotted Wolffish feeds on hard-shelled invertebrates such as crabs, lobsters, starfishes, and sea urchins. On the other hand, this fish is also an excellent culinary choice. Its mild, sweet meat can be cooked in many ways. It can be broiled, steamed, poached, smoked, pan-fried, baked, and barbecued. 

 

Spotted Wolffish Interesting Facts

  • Spotted Wolffish produce their antifreeze protein to protect them from freezing in frigid waters.
  • They mate via internal fertilization. Both male and female Spotted Wolffish guard the eggs until they hatch.
  • It is the male Spotted Wolffish that looks after the young while they’re maturing. It also loses its teeth in three (3) months and is unable to eat.
  • Wonder how a Spotted Wolffish tastes? It is said that they taste like lobsters with white and lean meat with a sweet taste—best paired with chardonnay.
  • In Iceland, a Spotted Wolffish is called “steinbítur” or “stone eater” in English.
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Size

A young Spotted Wolffish usually is around 19 to 23 inches, while a mature one is at 3.9 ft. and can grow as long as 5.9 ft. The maximum published weight for a Spotted Wolffish is 61.5 lbs.

 

Habitat and Distribution

This species loves the cold water, usually around 41 degrees Fahrenheit. It also dwells in the deep at 2,620 ft. while the shallowest depth you can find them is at 82 ft. A Spotted Wolffish prefers rocky areas nearby sea beds with coarse sand. It is perfect for its nesting and predatory means of catching food.

A Spotted Wolffish can be found in the Atlantic Coast and parts of the Arctic Ocen. The nearest spot where you can find one is in Canada, but it can be found usually in the North of Russia and the Scandinavian Peninsula. It is also prominent on the Scotian Shelf, Labrador Shelf, Grand Banks, and the west and east of Greenland. 

 

Fishing Tips for Spotted Wolffish and Its Current Status

In places where most Spotted Wolffish can be found, it can be fished throughout the year. Its favorite baits are a red worm, lobworm, Creek Chub Minnow, and Panfish. 

However, this species has been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSWIC) as ‘Threatened’ since 2001. Its population declined to 90% and is found in lesser locations in the country in three generations.

The country mapped out an intensive recovery and management plan to help revive the population to Spotted Wolffish. It also aims to protect it from threats to its habitats such as bycatch and bottom trolling, oil and gas exploration, ocean waste dumping, cables and pipelines, marine pollution, military activity, and global climate change.