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Atlantic cod

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Bycatch
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General

Cod-like fish

Cod-like fishes belong to the Gadidae family. This includes the Atlantic and Pacific cod, pouting, haddock, whiting, European pollock, Alaska pollock and saithe. They live near the seabed in coastal waters and in deeper waters. During the day, they aggregate in schools. At night, they separate to forage independently. Gadidae are omnivorous fish that feed on worms, molluscs, bivalves, crustaceans and small fish. They migrate over large distances to spawn and to hunt on large schools of herring and smelt.

 

 

Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod can be found in colder waters near to the seabed in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Due to climate change and an increasing water temperature, the distribution range of Atlantic cod stocks are shifting northwards. This species can reach lengths of up to 150 cm and can weigh 40 kilograms. Arctic cod that migrates to the Norwegian coast in the spring, is also called ‘skrei, which is often sold on the Dutch market.  

 

Atlantic cod

Gadus morhua
Origin

Iceland and Faroes grounds, Skagerrak, Norwegian Sea and Barents sea (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Demersal otter trawl, Danish seine, Set longlines, Handlines and pole-lines (hand operated), Fyke, Gillnets

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Explanation assessment

A number of Atlantic cod fisheries have been MSC-certifiedMSC Certified:
Fisheries that comply with the Marine Stewardship Council assessment criteria and are certified. Fish products with the blue MSC label are caught by sustainable fisheries.
since 2010. Other fish caught in these fisheries are MSC-certified haddock and pollock. Cod can be caught with a variety of gear, including: bottom trawl, gillnets, longline, fishing rods and Danish seines.

The cod fishery is mainly of economic importance to the Danes, Norwegians and Russians. Much of the cod that is sold in the Netherlands comes from the Barents Sea, Skagerrak or Icelandic waters. Since 2017, a large part of the cod catch from the North Sea was MSC-certifiedMSC Certified:
Fisheries that comply with the Marine Stewardship Council assessment criteria and are certified. Fish products with the blue MSC label are caught by sustainable fisheries.
. In 2019 this certificate was withdrawn because the the North Sea collapsed.

Skrei

When cod migrates to Norwegian coastal waters from January to April to reproduce, it is referred to as “Skrei”. This name comes from an old Norse word that means migrate. The meat is lean because of the energy the fished used for reproduction.

Atlantic cod

Gadus morhua
Origin

Northeast Atlanic Ocean: North Sea, Irish Sea, English channel, Iceland, Skaggerak, Kattegat, Sound, Belt Sea, Baltic Sea (FAO 27)

Farming- / Catch method

Demersal otter trawl, Danish seine, Set longlines, Gillnets

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

The status of the Atlantic cod in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean is severe. The different cod stockStock:
The fish of a particular species reproducing in the same area in the same period. 
s have decreased since 2006, in the years after the stocks have fluctuated but lately a significant decrease has occured to an all-time low. This is mainly due to the high fishing pressureFishing pressure:
Fishing pressure is a result of the fishing effort/amount of fishing on a stock, which determines the fishing mortality. Fishing mortality is the share of the fish stock that dies annually as a result of fishing.
on the species. Atlantic cod is vulnerable to  because they mature late and spawn in schools.

The capture methods used vary. These include [demersal-otter-trawls], gillnetsGillnets:
A fishing technique whereby passing fish get caught in the meshes with their gills. The net stands vertically on the bottom or hangs on buoys in the water column. The by-catch of species such as porpoises and dolphins is a problem related to gillnets.
, longlineLongline:
Also known as line fishing. A fishing method in which lines and hooks are used.
fishing and [danish-seines]. The Atlantic cod fisheries are mainly economically important for Denmark, Norway and Russia. A lot of cod that is being sold in the Netherlands, is caught in the Baltic Sea, around Iceland and Skagerrak.

Fish in season 

Fish is in season when the spawning period has ended, as the quality is then at its best.

Atlantic cod

Gadus morhua
Origin

Greenland (FAO 21)

Farming- / Catch method

Bottom otter trawl

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

The Atlantic cod stockStock:
The fish of a particular species reproducing in the same area in the same period. 
near Greenland is decreasing. After a history of severe overfishing, the fishing pressureFishing pressure:
Fishing pressure is a result of the fishing effort/amount of fishing on a stock, which determines the fishing mortality. Fishing mortality is the share of the fish stock that dies annually as a result of fishing.
is on a sustainable level at the moment. However, it is uncertain how this will develop in the future.

Fisheries using [demersal-otter-trawls] cause significant and irreversible damage to the seabes and the marine ecosystem. The bycatchBycatch:
Species caught next to species targeted for fishery. By-catches can consist of non-commercial species and species that are too small, and can be kept (this part is sometimes called by-product) or thrown back into the sea (discards). 
rate of other species caught in this fishery is unknown, this requires more research to be done.

Fisheries in Greenland are managed by catch restrictions. The effect of the management system is partly effective, improvements need to be made.

Fish in season 

Fish is in season when the spawning period has ended, as the quality is then at its best.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.

Avoid

Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.

By-catch

This fish is unwillingly caught while fishing for a different species. They are underused and should be eaten more.

GlobalG.A.P.

GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.

Organic

Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.

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