Extremely similar to Atlantic cod, and a member of the Gadidae family, the Pacifi`c cod is an excellent food fish and a good sportfish. It is harvested commercially for fish sticks and fillets and is usually sold frozen. In British Columbia, it is the most important trawl-caught bottom fish, with millions of pounds landed there alone.
IdentificationCharacteristic of the cod family, the Pacific cod has three separate and distinct dorsal ﬁns, two anal ﬁns, and one large barbel under the chin. Its body is heavy and elongated, with small scales, a large mouth, and soft rays. Its coloring ranges from gray to brown on the back, lightening on the sides and the belly. Numerous brown spots speckle the sides and the back. All the fins are dusky, and the unpaired ﬁns are edged with white on their outer margins.
The Pacific cod can be distinguished from the Atlantic cod, which is almost identical, by its smaller body and the pointedness of its fins.
SizeThe average size is less than 3 feet, with a weight of 15 pounds or less. The all-tackle record is 30 pounds. Spawning behavior. The spawning season for the Paciﬁc cod is winter and early spring. The eggs are pelagic, or free-floating. It generally lays great quantities of eggs; depending on the size of the ﬁsh, a female may release between 1 and 9 million eggs.
Food and feeding habitsThe Pacific cod is mainly omnivorous. The adult feeds on dominant food organisms, especially herring, capelin, sand eels, sardines, pollock, and other cod. Its habits are similar to those of the Atlantic cod.
Other Namescod, gray cod, true cod; French: morue du Pacifique; Italian: merluzzo del Paciﬁco; Japanese: madara; Portuguese: bacalhau-do-Paciﬁco; Spanish: bacalao del Paciﬁco.
|Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus)|