Wolffish

Species Information

Wolffish are ferocious looking creatures and are notable fighters. This bottom-dwelling, solitary, cold water fish eat hard-shelled invertebrates such as clams, echinoderms and crustaceans, which they crush with strong canine and molar teeth. Wolffish are known to reach lengths of around seven feet or longer but often average around three feet in length. In European countries this fish is often commonly called the catfish and is highly popular as a food fish. During most of the year the wolffish is not a migratory fish preferring to spend its time along deep waters along the bottom. But when spring arrives it will make small migrations inland in preparation for the spawning season.

Cooking & Handling

Store wolfish up to 2 days refrigerated.

Wolffish low in saturated fat. It is also a good source of thiamin and niacin, and a very good source of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.

Properly processed wolfish are boneless. Fillets are long and narrow with a pinkish tinge.

Flavors that work well with wolfish are Belgian endive, butter, clam, lemon, lobster, mushroom, mustard, onion, oyster, potato, shallot and sherry.

Cooking Methods

Bake, Broil, Fry, Grill, Poach, Sauté, Steam

Global Supply

Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, United States

Seasonal Availability

Fresh and frozen available year-round.

Wolffish range from Greenland to France in the east and Cape Cod to the west. Iceland has the largest targeted fishery for this species.

Catch rates pick up in the spring and crest in the summer before subsiding in fall and winter.

Did You Know?

Wolffish is the largest fish in the suborder of blennies. Blennies are long fish that are similar to eels in appearance that have been dated back as far as 50 million years by fossil discoveries.

Wolffish eat starfish, mussels and sea urchins. When eating its prey, they swallow the entire body, shells and all. The prey is then chewed with its strong teeth to break into digestible bits.

Wolffish skin is edible, but since there are no scales, this species cannot be kosher.

Scientific Name

Anarhichas lupus

Market Name

Wolffish

Common Names

Atlantic wolfish, striped wolfish, ocean catfish, seacat, lobo, ocean whitefish, rock salmon

Substitutions

Cod, turbot, haddock

Raw Characteristics

  • grayish brown with dark bands
  • flat head, large mouth, sharp teeth, no scales with dorsal fin that runs the length of their body
  • pinkish tinge, shiny, moist flesh lean meat
  • market weight apx 10 lbs

Cooked Characteristics

  • mild, sweet flavored
  • pearly white meat
  • flake is similar to cod
  • firm texture similar to lobster

Pronunciations

French: loup atlantique
German: gestreifter seewolf
Italian: lupo di mare
Japanese: taiseiyo-namazu
Spanish: perro del norte