Wolffish doesn't need federal protection

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2009 2:18 PM

A deep-water fish that's known as much for its ugly mug as its ability to gobble up whole urchins and crabs in a few swift chomps won't be getting federal protection after all.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday that the Atlantic wolffish isn't in danger of extinction nor is it likely to become endangered anytime soon.

The wolffish is a true denizen of the deep, living along the rocky ocean bottom in ocean waters off New England. They have large protruding teeth and powerful jaws that can crush lobsters, urchins, clams, scallops and crabs.

Fishermen don't target the fish, but they're hauled up as incidental catch in fishermen's nets. The Conservation Law Foundation sought the endangered species listing last year.