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.
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.
Sigmund BjørgoDirector 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.