Tips for handling and releasing Wolffish

Otter Trawl Fishery

Proper handling and quick release of wolffish back into the water improves their chances of survival. / wolffish

The Species at Risk Act

Two of the three wolffish species found in waters off Atlantic Canada are at risk of becoming extinct. The third species is of Special Concern.

A new Canadian ‘Species at Risk’ law protects those species. This new law was created to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct, but no single group or organization can ensure the recovery of a species. We all have a part to play.

Wolffish are incidentally caught in some of the most common fishing gears used throughout Atlantic Canada. Proper handling and quick release of wolffish back into the water improves their chances of survival.

Like all animals, wolffish play an important role in the ecosystem of the ocean and their survival depends on all of us working together.

Water in the ramp turned on to improve the survival rate of wolffish.
A crew member removing and release wolffish as the fish drop down the ramp.
A long handled dip net can be used to remove wolffish from the ramp and return to water.
Consider using recovery tanks before releasing wolffish.

Handle wolffish gently and avoid touching the gills. Avoid dropping wolffish on to hard surfaces.

Avoid using sharp instruments such as gaffs and knives when handling wolffish. Release wolffish as quickly as possible.

If you do not want to handle a wolffish or it is a large wolffish use a dip net to release the fish.

Northern wolffish Spotted wolffish Striped wolffish

For more information please contact your nearest DFO Office or visit: Species at Risk Public Registry.