Northern wolffish and spotted wolffish recovery strategy

Official title: Recovery Strategy for Northern Wolffish and Spotted Wolffish, and Management Plan for Atlantic Wolffish in Canada [Final]

Northern Wolffish, Spotted Wolffish, Atlantic Wolffish

February 2008

Northern, Spotted and Atlantic Wolffish

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is“to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARA outline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry and the Web site of the Recovery Secretariat.

Recommended citation:

Kulka, D., C. Hood and J. Huntington. 2007. Recovery Strategy for Northern Wolffish (Anarhichas denticulatus) and Spotted Wolffish (Anarhichas minor), and Management Plan for Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) in Canada. Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador Region. St. John’s, NL. x + 103 pp.


Additional copies:

You can download additional copies from the SARA Public Registry.

Cover illustration: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Également disponible en français sous le titre

Programme de rétablissement du loup à tête large (Anarhichas denticulatus) et du loup tacheté (Anarhichas minor) et plan de gestion du loup atlantique (Anarhichas lupus) au Canada

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, 2008. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-0-662-47528-6

Catalogue no. En3-4/52-2008E-PDF

Content (excluding the cover illustration) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.




This Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for the Northern Wolffish, Spotted Wolffish and Atlantic Wolffish has been prepared in cooperation with jurisdictions responsible for the species, as described in the Appendix 1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for these species as required by the Species at Risk Act.

Success in the recovery and management of these species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Northern Wolffish, Spotted Wolffish and Atlantic Wolffish, and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will endeavor to support implementation of this strategy, given available resources and varying species at risk conservation priorities. The Minister will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The Minister will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians directly affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible Jurisdictions

The responsible jurisdiction for Northern Wolffish, Spotted Wolffish and Atlantic Wolffish in Atlantic Canadian waters is Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


This document was prepared by D. Kulka, C. Hood and J. Huntington, through the advice of the Wolffish Recovery Team, on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Wolffish recovery Team members include:

Catherine Hood (co-chair), DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
David Kulka (co-chair), DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
John Angel, Canadian Association of Prawn Producers
Sharmane Allen, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Wade Barney, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
John Boland, Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union
Carole Bradbury, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Joe Brazil, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation
Gerald Brothers, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Scott Campbell, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Bruce Chapman, Groundfish Enterprise Allocation Council
David Coffin, Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Karen Ditz, DFO, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Tom Hurlbut, DFO, Moncton, New Brunswick
George Rose, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Mark Simpson, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Jason Simms, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Dena Wiseman, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Larry Yetman, DFO, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador


This Recovery Strategy and Management Plan was written by David Kulka, Catherine Hood and Julie Huntington with extensive input and cooperation from the Recovery Team and other stakeholders as appropriate. Editing was done by the co-chairs David Kulka and Catherine Hood, as well as Derek Osborne (DFO). Funding for the project was provided by the Species at Risk Office: Newfoundland & Labrador Region, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.

The Wolffish Recovery Team includes representatives from industry, academia, and the provincial and federal governments. The populations of wolffish, in particular the two threatened species, are concentrated largely from the Grand Banks to the Labrador Shelf, which is the jurisdiction of DFO Newfoundland and Labrador Region, and waters adjacent to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Thus, the majority of representation on the team was from this area. Industry was represented from leaders of both the inshore and offshore sectors. All sectors of DFO Newfoundland and Labrador Region were represented on the Team. Each Team member consulted extensively within their jurisdiction ensuring broad consultation such that key stakeholders were aware of and had the opportunity to input to this document.

An acknowledgement of gratitude is extended to all the team members for their effort toward the preparation of this Recovery Strategy and Management Plan, including all their efforts in informing and receiving feedback from their respective jurisdictions. The team also wishes to thank the numerous reviewers of this document, from various sectors of the Newfoundland and Labrador Region, from other Atlantic Regions and NHQ. Special thanks goes to MEHM staff who worked on several sections related to habitat, and CEAA and P&E staff from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Maritimes Regions who provided detailed economic analyses, to ensure best knowledge was included. The collective input of reviewers and contributors has ensured compliancy with the Species at Risk Act and has greatly enhanced the quality of a document that deals with a wide range of subject matter.

Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA Recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies many also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The recovery planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly in the strategy itself, but are also summarized below.

This recovery strategy and management plan will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the conservation and recovery of northern wolffish, spotted wolffish and Atlantic Wolffish in Canadian waters. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered; however, because the recovery objectives recommend additional research on the species and education and outreach initiatives, the SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects.

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