Groundfish Atlas

About the Groundfish Atlas

In British Columbia, there are many species of groundfish – fish that generally hang out near the bottom of the ocean. These fish include many that frequent grocery store coolers and freezers: halibut, ‘red snapper’, rockfish, sole, cod and more.

A few are the hopeful catch of recreational fishers – halibut, lingcod, yelloweye and other rockfish. Fishing from small boats out for the day, most of these fish are caught by hand jigging and trolling.

Over 100 of groundfish are regularly caught in commercial trawl and hook and line fisheries. Approximately 30 of these species make up over 95% of the commercial catch. For an overview, click here to see a table showing the combined bottom trawl catch from BC waters between 1996 and 2002.

This initial groundfish atlas is the result of a model collaborative project by World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (GH) and the Haida Fisheries Program (HFP). This pilot project is building a template to produce life history compilations and distribution maps for selected groundfish species caught in the commercial bottom trawl and hook and line fisheries.

From this pilot project, we intend to generate more interest, funding and additional partnerships, to extend the scope of the groundfish atlas to include all important groundfish species, examine habitat associations, socio-economic analyses and management discussions.


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