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The northern seas

The Arctic belt is defined by its unbearable cold and dramatic day and night changes. Northern seas are known for fewer numbers of species. However, these areas support numerous fish and invertebrates thanks to the unique food chain, the basis of which is the vast biomass of phytoplankton, microscopic algae invisible to the naked eye.

(Anarhichas lupus, Linnaeus, 1758)

Atlantic wolffish

The Atlantic wolffish, also known as the seawolf, is a fish recognisable by its grey-blue colour with diagonal stripes along its entire body, its big head with a “flat” snout and a mouth which houses large, sharp teeth. The sharp teeth are used to break open seashells, sea urchin shells and crustaceans which it eats. They live in the Atlantic Ocean, on sandy and rocky substrates, they can grow up to 120 cm and weigh about 20 kilograms.

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They are considered an important part of the ocean ecosystem as they clear the sea floor of various animals which breed quickly and threaten the other inhabitants of the cold areas, such as the green crab and the sea urchin population. The Atlantic wolffish, along with cod, is an indicator of the health of cold seas.

(Eleginus nawaga, Walbaum, 1792)


A relatively small species when compared to other fish from the Gadiformes order, it represents one of the most important species of fish in the human diet worldwide. Except as food, it is also important for the production of liver oil.

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Morphologically, it is similar to Atlantic cod; Pacific cod has a larger, flatter head and spawns after 2 to 3 years, unlike the Atlantic one, which spawns every eight years.

(Myoxocephalus scorpius, Linnaeus, 1758)

Shorthorn sculpin

A demersal species in the northern seas which lives among sea algae in rocky bottoms with silt or sand, at depths between 0 to 450 metres. Like several other coldwater fish, it possesses an antifreeze protein that allows it to survive in temperatures lower than freezing. This species is not poisonous but can easily be mistaken for other species which do possess toxins, such as lionfish.

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According to the IUCN, it is categorised as a species of least concern (LC). Potential threats to this species include fishing, exploitation of water resources and industrial and military influence.

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