The Atlantic Wolffish is a large sized, rather long fish, usually around 20 to 24 inches long, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured at around 50 inches. It is found all around Iceland, but is most common off Vestfirdir (West Fjords) peninsula in the west. It mostly occurs on mud or sand bottoms at depths between 130 to 660 feet. It is found in European waters from Murmansk in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is also around the Faroe Islands, in southern Greenlandic waters and from Labrador to Cape Cod in North America.
The catfish has enormously strong jaws and teeth. In fact so strong that it has to be handled with caution by fishermen. However, these strong jaws are not put there by nature to bite fishermen but to crush shellfish and echinoderms as these are the main food of the catfish.
Spawning takes place at 525-660 feet depth off of Vestfirdir peninsula in autumn and early winter, as opposed to most other fish that spawn in late winter and spring. Some spawning also occurs off the eastern part of Iceland. Unlike most other fish, the catfish guards the eggs until they hatch; usually it seems to be the role of the males to do that. During this time they lose their teeth. After the eggs hatch they migrate back to other areas around Iceland. Growth rate is slow but it can reach more than 20 years of age.
The Atlantic Wolffish has tasty and firm flesh, similar to monkfish and almost “lobstery”.