St. Lawrence species

Ocean pout

Zoarces americanus

Type of resource

  • Bottom fish
  • Fish

Status of the resource

  • Not determined

In season

Fresh in autumn and in winter.

SIZE : 70 cm, up to 110 cm.

LIFE EXPECTANCY : Up to 18 years.

LIFE CYCLE : Sexual maturity when it reaches a size of around 30 cm.

Males and females mate in autumn, and fertilization takes place internally. Females lay eggs in gelatinous masses, protected in rock crevices. The parents watch over the eggs until they hatch, usually after 2 to 3 months.

The ocean pout has an elongated body similar to that of the eel, with a continuous dorsal fin. Its anal fin extends from the middle of its belly to its tail, connecting with the caudal fin. The pectoral fins are large and rounded, often tinged with red or orange. The large head is similar to that of a toad, with a wide mouth and plump lips. The jaws have two rows of blunt, conical teeth.
The upper part of the body is yellow to reddish-brown, mottled with olive-green or gray spots. Its underside is pale, somewhat yellowish.

Found close to the bottom, at depths of over 300 m.

The ocean pout tolerates water temperatures between -0.5 ° C and 16 ° C.

The ocean pout is often found between algae and rocks on rather hard bottoms.
Credit : Derek Keats, photo taken in 2011.


Small fishes



Stripped bass

MACHINES : No commercial fishing.

Ocean pout are an incidental catch in trawls, gillnets, and longlines.
Although the ocean pout appears to be a common species in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it is of little commercial interest. Information on its abundance in Canada is limited, but it is not considered at risk.

Rich in protein, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Firm texture, delicate and slightly sweet taste.

Although not widely consumed in Canada, ocean pout is used in traditional dishes in Newfoundland and Labrador. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including frying it with garlic and chives, steaming it, or including it in chowders or soups.


  • Do not overcook or the texture can become rubbery.
  • Fried, with onion and chives, this fish is delicious.