The Tagging and Restraint of Anarhichas lupus or the Atlantic Wolffish

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Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Patrick Benoit UNH - Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences
Geoffrey Gyles UNH - Department of Biological Sciences
Andrew Mailloux UNH - Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisors:

Elizabeth Fairchild UNH - Department of Biological Sciences
The Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) is a bottom dwelling fish that lives in the cold waters of the Atlantic ranging from Nunavut, Canada, to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The species has not been extensively studied because of its large size and incredible strength which makes it difficult to restrain in a manner conducive to tagging. Because the fish have not been tagged they have not been tracked and information about the species is widely unknown. This project tested effective methods of restraining and tagging wolffish. Four restraining boards of two sizes and designs were built. One design uses rubber bungee straps and the other uses nylon ratchet straps to secure the fish while tagging is done. The sizes of the boards were chosen to accommodate the average size of a mature fish, between 0.6 and 1.2 meters. Water pumps were installed on each of the boards to keep gill tissue wet and minimize stress to the fish. The fish, once gathered from fisherman local to Hampton, N.H., are kept at the UNH Coastal Marine Lab in New Castle, N.H. The restraining boards will be used and rated based on functionality and ease of use. Once restrained, the fish will be tagged and the effectiveness of the different boards and types of tags will be assessed. Results of the study will allow for future studies of wolffish to be carried out with a common protocol. Using the best tagging board will make future population studies much easier.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • The tagging and restraint of "Anarhichas lupus" or the Atlantic Wolffish (2010). Patrick Benoit, Geoffrey Gyles and Andrew Mailloux. Advisor: Elizabeth Fairchild.