The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) belongs to the family of the Gadidae, the gadoids or cod-like fishes. The main differences from other similar species are their robust form, being laterally flattened and the body tapering towards the tail. Besides this, what clearly distinguishes cod from other species it’s the barbel, which is very useful in detecting prey, and the bright lateral line. Cod also has three dorsal fins, two ventral and one on the tail. Its colour is olive green or brownish and has numerous black spots on the back.
The Atlantic Cod lives throughout the North Atlantic, from the Newfoundland region to Iceland and Norway, as long as the water temperature is between 4 and 12 degrees Celsius. Being a demersal species, it lives near the bottom of the sea, normally, when adults, between 100 and 200 meters deep, in the continental shelves.
The cod reproduction happens in shoals, between winter and spring, and each female can produce nine million eggs. It then migrates to spawn, choosing warmer places. Due to its large maximum length of about 150 cm and weigh between 30 to 90 kg, the cod is almost at the top of the food chain and plays a crucial role in the ecosystem. Cod eats mainly other commercial fish species, including its kind, which are found in the areas where the hot and cold currents of the Ocean cross, as it happens in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
Codfish grow quickly because they have a diverse and abundant diet. The youngest feed on small animal organisms that make up zooplankton and small larvae, bivalves and crustaceans while adults prefer fish like herring, hake and anglerfish. Depending on its life stage, cod predators, apart from man, are other fish-eating species and marine mammals such as seals, dolphins and whales.