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Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffin

Cuckoo wrasse

Cuckoo wrasse

Ballan wrasse

Ballan wrasse

Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod

Saithe

Saithe

Pouting

Pouting

Atlantic wolffish

Atlantic wolffish

European eel

European eel

European conger

European conger

European plaice

European plaice

European flounder

European flounder

Turbot

Turbot

Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod

Facts

LatinGadus morhua
Size200 cm
FoodCrabs, clams, worms, fish
HabitatCoastal waters at depths down to 600 meters. Close to the seabed among large stones and aquatic plants. Large Atlantic cod can be found in open waters.
IUCN

Vulnerable

The Atlantic cod is considered at risk because it has been subject to overfishing. It is still okay to eat cod as long as you know where it comes from and how it was caught.

LocationSkagerrak, Kattegat and Baltic Sea
Map

Recognise an Atlantic cod

You can recognise an Atlantic cod by a whisker-like projection under its chin, known as a barbel, but also by its protruding teeth and its distinctive white lateral line. The lateral line bends at the front dorsal fin.

Different colours

The colour of the Atlantic cod varies according to its habitat. In kelp forests, the Atlantic cod is brownish, greenish or reddish, but on the sandy bottom and in deeper water, the Atlantic cod is light grey. The Atlantic cod can be entirely silvery in appearance. In the aquarium at National Aquarium Denmark, Den Blå Planet, the Atlantic cod are often brownish because the aquarium has algae and stones.

Hunting for prey

The Atlantic cod is a predatory fish. It uses its barbel as a feeler to find prey that have dug themselves into the sea bed, such as crustaceans, worms and molluscs. The Atlantic cod uses its lateral line to register its surroundings. The motion and vibration of the surrounding water helps detect the nearby presence of other fish.

How the Atlantic cod catches its prey

When the Atlantic cod finds a worm, for example, it grabs it from above. It does this with its protruding teeth. Especially younger Atlantic cod eat benthic animals. When the Atlantic cod gets bigger, it begins to eat fish. Adult Atlantic cod live almost exclusively on fish.

Commonly found fish

The Atlantic cod is found in the Skagerrak, the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea. It can tolerate salinity as low as 6 parts per thousand and can therefore be found far into the Baltic Sea.

Eggs and young fish

Male and female cod release eggs and sperm freely into the water. The fertilised eggs rise to the water's surface. They float in the water for about 3-4 weeks, then they hatch and out come 4-5 mm long cod larvae. After 3 months, the cod larvae settle on the seabed and live concealed among the algae and eelgrass.

A delicious fish

Cod flesh is light in colour and tastes delicious. Cod bones have been found in Stone Age kitchen middens dating from 5,000 years ago, and during the Viking Age cod was air-dried and eaten. Cod is still an important fish in Denmark, but also in the rest of Europe.

Go on a fishing trip

You can catch cod from a boat and from the coast in Denmark. Cod fishing is best from October to February when the water is cold. This is when the large cod move in toward the coast. Cod can often be found at the lowest depths of the seabed, and this is where you can catch them. Remember to get a fishing licence.


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