Conservation Status

Not listed by the IUCN. Early accounts listed the lumpfish as being of no economic value, but they were always a bycatch in the inshore cod trap and gillnet fishery, and their ripe eggs were marketed as caviar starting in the late 1960s. In North America the flesh is sold as dog food, but it is eaten by people in Europe. The eggs are stripped from ripe females and packed in brine for preparation as lumpfish caviar.

Overfishing has occurred. In Newfoundland the catch rate was 229 lb (104 kg) per net per year in 1979 (total landings 85 tonnes) at 16 nets per boat, whereas by 1996 the catch rate was down to 21 lb (9.5 kg) per net per year (total landings still 82 tonnes) at 40 nets per boat, and nearly ten times as many boats in the same region.

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