Norwegian: Torsk / Latin: Gadus

The cod family is a large family with species that live in both saltwater and freshwater. We will present the Gadus family:     

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

Found on the coast of North America (from New England to Labrador), the southern coast of Greenland, the coast of Ireland and the European coastal areas (in particular the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea).            

Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

Common in the coastal areas of the Yellow Sea, through the Bering Strait to Los Angeles.            

Greenland cod (Gadus ogac)

Mainly found in the northwest Atlantic and Arctic areas.

Types of cod

There are two different types of cod:

Stationary coastal cod is found near the seabed in shallower water.

Migratory oceanic cod travels long distances and swims closer to the surface.            

Over 90% of Norway's cod catches come from the cold, clear waters of the Barents Sea. But, for just a couple of months a year, the mature cod migrate closer to the Norwegian coastline to breed.            

The travelling cod develop strengthened muscles and uniquely textured fillets on their long swim, transforming them into a national delicacy known as Skrei. You can find out more about this protein-rich fish on our dedicated Skrei page.

Distinctive features

Cod

It's easy to spot this fish once you know what to look for. Cod is characterised by an elongated and strong body with a distinctive curved white line. It has three dorsal fins very close to the base and you'll also be able to spot a pointy chin barbel on the lower jaw.            

A cod's colouring can also tell you a lot about where it comes from. Cod from shallow water is reddish, brown or olive green with darker spots.            

If the fish has lived at greater depths it will be lighter and often greyish in colour. You might be surprised to learn that cod can live for up to forty years, grow to 200 cm and weigh up to 60 kg.

Shoal of cod

COD FAST FACTS

Age                         up to 40 years

Length                    up to 200 cm    

Weight                    up to 60 kg 

Merroir - Does the sea affect the taste?

Just as the word 'terroir' is used to describe the natural environment in which wine is produced, 'merroir' suggests that fish tastes different depending on where it's from.

Customers always want to know more about the origins of their food and 'catch 27' simply isn't descriptive enough. Merroir could be a way of distinguishing between fish caught in different areas, which in turn could drive awareness about the importance of keeping our seas clean.

 

Tasting Notes

Map of Europe

Coastal cod, Bømlo

Appearance: A white, flaky flesh with a slight blue/grey tone. Bouquet: Sweet, a little milky, scent of the sea. Taste: Juicy and sweet, but well balanced with umami (savoury taste), kokumi (rich taste) and fresh undertones. 

Skrei, Barents Sea

Appearance: Shimmers like mother of pearl. Bouquet: Scent of the sea and wet stones, with hints of crab and seaweed. Taste: Soft, crumbly flakiness, with a kokumi flavuor on the tongue. A clean tasting fish with just a hint of bitterness. 

Øresund cod

Appearance: White with a tinge of grey and light pink. Bouquet: An aroma of warm milk. Taste: Flaky, sweet and fruity, with a light fishiness in the background. 

Baltic cod

Appearance: A kaleidoscope of marbled browns and reds. Bouquet: Strong odour of raw fish and sun-heated beds of seaweed. Taste: Soft texture without significant flakiness. Relatively high acidity and a rich, earthy flavuor. 

Coastal cod, Bømlo

Appearance: A white, flaky flesh with a slight blue/grey tone. Bouquet: Sweet, a little milky, scent of the sea. Taste: Juicy and sweet, but well balanced with umami (savoury taste), kokumi (rich taste) and fresh undertones. 

Skrei, Barents Sea

Appearance: Shimmers like mother of pearl. Bouquet: Scent of the sea and wet stones, with hints of crab and seaweed. Taste: Soft, crumbly flakiness, with a kokumi flavuor on the tongue. A clean tasting fish with just a hint of bitterness. 

Øresund cod

Appearance: White with a tinge of grey and light pink. Bouquet: An aroma of warm milk. Taste: Flaky, sweet and fruity, with a light fishiness in the background. 

Baltic cod

Appearance: A kaleidoscope of marbled browns and reds. Bouquet: Strong odour of raw fish and sun-heated beds of seaweed. Taste: Soft texture without significant flakiness. Relatively high acidity and a rich, earthy flavuor. 

Line Kjelstrup
We have been searching for a way to communicate the importance of origin - what the fish has eaten and when, where and how it is caught – and how that affects the taste. Our hope is that 'merroir' gives us a new way of talking about fish.

Line Kjelstrup

Director Sweden, NSC

There's no place quite like the Barents Sea

Cold waters, strong currents and powerful winds create a challenging environment for humans, but the Barents Sea is home to the world's largest cod population. Cod thrives here. In fact, the tasty white fish provided the very first Norwegians with the nutrition they needed to survive through cold winters.            

There's plenty for cod to eat in the Barents Sea. It starts life feasting on zooplankton, krill and crustaceans, before moving onto smaller fish, such as capelin and herring. Another reason for cod's success here is its adaptability. Cod is 'demersal' (meaning it mainly lives near the bottom of the sea), but it can also thrive near the surface.

Norwegian Cod is available 365 days a year, thanks in part to our focus on sustainability. We begin the year fishing the Barents Sea and coastal areas, before moving to locations on the Polar front, such as Bear Island. The cod fisheries are at their busiest between January and April.