top of page

Atlantic Cod: (Gadus morhua) Family: Gadidae, Cods  

Other Names: Cod, Codfish, Scrod, Codling



The color of Atlantic codfish can vary from gray to gray green to reddish brown; they are usually covered with reddish brown spots. The lateral line takes a gentle upward curve over the pectoral fin, but then carries in a straight line through to the tail fin. Cod are streamline in shape, have a broad, square tail fin, three rounded dorsal fins, two anal fins and no fin spines. Their upper jaw is blunt and extends beyond the lower jaw. A prominent chin whisker (barbel) is attached to their lower jaw, which detects food buried in the sand. These fish are four to five times as long as they are deep, being deepest just behind the head.

About the Fish
About Cod
About Codfish

Typical Habitat:

Cod are a bottom-dwelling species living over most seabeds, including clean sand, shingle, mixed mud and sand, rough ground, reefs and wrecks. Smaller codling will also penetrate deep into our larger estuaries and are not affected by some freshwater content. Bigger fish tend to prefer areas of rougher ground where the food supply is greater.


They live on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to Greenland. And from Iceland southward along the European coast, to the Bay of Biscay off France and Spain. The species inhabit waters that are 32° to 50°F, and range from 200 to 1,300 feet in depth. Preferred Temps 44° to 49°.

Feeding Habits:

Cod feed on many kinds of animals that live near the sea floor. Their favorite foods are crabs, worms, clams, and fishes.

Breeding Season:

Breeding season spans from January to late March coinciding with the lowest sea temperatures of the year.

A female cod can lay anything up to 5,000,000 eggs annually. The young cod hatch in the early spring and reach 4-6 inches in their first year. In the second year they attain 14-16 inches and 1.5 lbs in weight. Growth accelerates in the third year reaching between 4 to 6 lbs with approximately 20% becoming sexually mature. Most fish reach maturity when weighing 7-10 lbs in their 4th year. Cod can be expected to grow roughly 4lbs per year.

Newfoundland Cod Fishing
Our good friends in Newfoundland and Labradore. Excellent short historical documentary on The 19th Century Salt-Cod Fisheries.


First year codling live on shrimp, but after that, they quickly revert to worms, other shellfish, crabs, small fish etc. Adult fish eat crabs, worms, and larger fish like whiting, pouting, flatfish, sprats, poor cod and even small codling. In fact, just about anything edible a cod comes across, it will eat.

Age and Growth: Cod reach sexual maturity at 3 years, but are capable of living for about 22 years.


I Love Cod

World Record Weight:

The largest cod known to have been caught weighed 212 lbs and was taken in May of 1895 off the coast of Massachusetts.

Of course it was caught off of Massachusetts! No doubt in the coastal waters of Cape Cod!

Source: All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO: Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website:   Top vintage advertising illustration — Scott's Emulsion

bottom of page