Atlantic Cod

Gadus morhua
Quick Facts
Up to 77 pounds
Up to 51 inches
More than 20 years
Atlantic cod prefer waters close to the ocean bottom. They are most commonly found relatively shallow waters less than 500 feet deep northern Atlantic ocean Atlantic cod are found throughout the northern Atlantic ocean, from Greenland to North Carolina on the western side, and in Scandinavia. Atlantic cod are also known to undergo seasonal migrations.
Also Known As
Cod, Codling, Scrod cod, Markets, Steakers
  • Atlantic cod are heavy-bodied with a large head, blunt snout, and a distinct barbel (a whisker-like organ, like on a catfish) under the lower jaw.
  • Their coloring varies, ranging from light yellowish-green to red and olive, usually with darker speckles on the head, fins, tail, and body. The belly is light colored and usually spotless. Individuals can change color readily.
  • Cod have an obvious lateral line (the faint line that runs lengthwise down each side of the fish).
  • Atlantic cod can live more than 20 years.
  • They can grow up to 51 inches and 77 pounds.
  • They are capable of reproducing at 2 to 3 years old, when they are between 12 and 16 inches long.
  • Cod spawn near the ocean floor from winter to early spring.
  • Larger females can produce 3 to 9 million eggs when they spawn.
  • They are top predators in the bottom ocean community, feeding on a variety of invertebrates and fish.
Where They Live
  • In the Northwest Atlantic, cod range from Greenland to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
  • In U.S. waters, cod is most common on Georges Bank and in the western Gulf of Maine.
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