These citations were used to generate the information found on the ocean pout species page.
About The Species
According to the 2017 operational assessment, ocean pout is overfished and overfishing is not occurring.
- Ocean pout have a long, tapered, eel-like body.
- Ocean pout have a wide fleshy mouth, and their top lip sticks out farther than their bottom lip.
- Ocean pout range in color from yellow to reddish-brown to grayish-green, and they have dark X-shaped markings running along the length of their body.
- Ocean pout have a distinctive dark brown line on either side of their head that extends from the outer corner of each eye to the edge of each gill cover.
- Ocean pout can grow up to 46 inches long.
- Adult ocean pout typically feed on a variety of bottom-dwelling invertebrates, like bivalve mollusks, sea urchins, sand dollars, brittle stars, and crabs.
- In the Gulf of Maine, ocean pout typically migrate farther offshore during the late summer and move back inshore during the spring.
- In Southern New England and Georges Bank, ocean pout usually move to cooler rocky areas during the summer and return during the fall.
- Adult ocean pout congregate in rocky areas to spawn during September to October.
- Female ocean pout guard their masses of eggs, which are encased in a gelatinous substance, for approximately 2–3 months until they hatch.
- Ocean pout eggs hatch on the bottom, where the fish remain throughout adulthood.
Where They Live
- Ocean pout are found along the Atlantic Coast of North America from Labrador to Delaware.
- We manage a single stock of ocean pout in U.S. waters.
- Ocean pout is a zero-possession species, meaning vessels holding a federal groundfish permit may not fish for, possess, or land ocean pout.
- NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council manage the fishery.
- Ocean pout, along with other groundfish in New England waters, are managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes:
- Permitting requirements for commercial vessels.
- Separate management measures for recreational vessels.
- Time/area closures to protect spawning fish and habitat.
- Minimum fish sizes to prevent harvest of juvenile fish.
- Annual catch limits, based on best available science.
- An optional sector (catch share) program can be used for cod and other groundfish species. The sector program allows fishermen to form harvesting cooperatives and work together to decide when, where, and how they harvest fish.
Recreational Fishing Regulations
Commercial Fishing Regulations
Ocean pout is managed under the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Management Plan along with 12 other species of groundfish. Collectively, these 13 species are referred to as the Northeast multispecies complex.