What is Wolffish?
Wolf what? Yep, you heard that right – we’re talking about Arctic Wolffish! While its looks may not impress (it’s quite wolf-like with sharp teeth that crush crustaceans all day long), it’s flavor and texture are show stoppers! It’s so delicious! So tender! It should be the most popular fish in the school! All jokes aside, let us brag a bit more about why we love this fish in Iceland:
Arctic Wolffish from Iceland is MSC Certified and is regarded as a delicacy by Icelandic people, yet is less known in other cultures.
We know, you’re wondering, “But what does it taste like?”, and to that we say it’s like a cross between crab and halibut, and it’s sometimes referred to as the ‘poor man’s lobster’ (since it mostly eat lobsters and other crustaceans what they say is true – you are what you eat!). The light, buttery and oceanic flavor melts in your mouth, generally followed by a “wow!”.
History of Wolffish
If you just Google “wolffish” you’ll stumble upon articles that point to unsustainable fisheries, and that is true for some waters wolffish are caught, but it is inaccurate when we’re talking about wolffish from Iceland, which is a very healthy and well-managed fishery. Iceland leads the world in sustainable fisheries management (read about it in our blog post here), and its fisheries are managed by a catch limitation system that allots each species a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) each year. Also, individual vessels are then given a specific share of that catch, which is transferable between vessels and prevents overfishing.To further protect the ecosystem, Iceland enforces gear restrictions, fishing area restrictions and fishing area closures to protect juvenile and spawning fish.
Now, how to cook wolffish? We promise it’s easy! Wolffish is exceptionally good pan-seared and other high-heat preparations due to its high-fat content. Acidic foods and condiments (such as kimchi) are an excellent complement to wolffish, and it breaks down well into pieces for things like “crab” cakes and dip. Check out our Air Fryer Miso Wolffish and Wolffish “Crab” Cake Balls recipes!
Where can I get Wolffish?
Surely you’re ready to run to the store to pick up some wolffish now (of course you are!). Thankfully we’ve partnered with CrowdCow to give them the wolffish hookup – sign up for their e-newsletter to be alerted when it’s next in stock!
- Wolffish in Iceland are caught with a variety of fishing methods, including long line and trawl vessels. Trawl vessels in Iceland are mid-water or bottom trawling, and are assigned specific fishing areas to limit ecosystem impact. For instance, they are not permitted to trawl in fish spawning areas. Common use of “T90 bottom trawls” (30% lesser net) with pelagic doors (not dragged on the bottom), has resulted in considerable fuel savings without negative impact to ecosystems.
- Total Allowable Catch (TAC) quotas are also assigned to each vessel to prevent overfishing, and this is monitored by the authorities and via a public database.
- Furthermore, in Iceland it’s illegal to throw bycatch back into the sea – everything that is landed must be used, and this is to maintain accurate data of each species. This bycatch law is unique to Iceland and one of the many reasons Iceland is recognized for excellence in fisheries management globally. In fact, wolffish is never a “targeted” fish, but rather it’s bycatch of the haddock and cod fishing boats, and when it’s in season those boats catch more wolffish.
- Lastly, all of the Icelandic fish Niceland sells are MSC-certified (Marine Stewardship Council).
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