Atlantic Cod

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Gadus morhua

Other Common Names Codfish, rock cod, scrod, northern cod, whitefish.

Fishing Method Bottom trawl, hook and line, Danish seine, gillnet, bottom longline.

Region of Harvest In Canada, Atlantic cod is fished from Georges Bank to northern Labrador. There are several stocks within this range, and the stock at Georges Bank is jointly managed with the U.S.

Cod (Atlantic)
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. Despite strict management in the U.S. and Canada, cod populations remain overfished. Canadian populations are so low that some are listed as endangered or threatened. By the early 1990s, the numbers of Newfoundland's northern cod stock had declined by 99.9 per cent relative to their abundance in the early 1960s.

2. Cod are caught with bottom trawling gear, which damages habitats and results in non-targeted marine animals being caught as bycatch.

3. Canada's Atlantic cod populations are not recovering from overfishing, and the Gulf of Maine stock could face similar problems. A recent study found that the fourth largest cod stock southwest of Newfoundland will never recover and will be extinct in 20 years if fishing efforts continue.

Atlantic cod can live between zero and 2000 metres below sea level.

This species can live for 25 years, measure up to two metres long and weigh up to 96 kilograms.

Cod feed on other fish and invertebrates.

Atlantic cod are used for food, liver oil, fish filets and fish sticks, fishmeal and glue. Cod cheeks and cod tongues are delicacies.

Females can lay over six million eggs over the course of one to two months, although few will survive to maturity.

Northwest Atlantic cod are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and are under consideration for legal protection under the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA).

For more on the status and history of the Canadian cod fishery, click here .