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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Atlantic wolffish Anarhichas lupus in Canada

Special Significance of the Species

The Atlantic wolffish is a commercially important species with flesh that is white, flaky and of good quality.  While not the target of a directed fishery, it is valuable as by-catch.  Additionally, it is thought to play a significant role in controlling the density and distribution of many benthic invertebrates.  This is a double-edged sword in its relation to man, since it may control populations of pest species such as Cancer irroratus (Witman and Sebens, 1992) and Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Hagen and Mann, 1992) but may also be detrimental to populations of commercially valuable species such as the giant scallop, Placopecten magellanicus (Stokesbury and Himmelmann, 1995).  Juvenile Atlantic wolffish also appear to be a food source for Atlantic cod.