Codfish: Characteristics, habitats, types and more….

Surely, unless you are a vegetarian, you have tasted the delicious meat of the Codfish or simply cods once in your life. That is why it’s necessary that you know everything related to these fish.

Codfish is the common name of the demersal fish of the genus Gadus or that belong to the family Gadidae.The two most common species are Atlantic cod, which, as the name implies, live in the colder waters and deeper regions of the North Atlantic; and the Pacific cod, which is found in the same way in the eastern region as in the western region of the Pacific Ocean.

History of Codfish

Cod has been an important economic product in most international markets since the Vikings’ ancient, in the year eight hundred AD. The Norwegians traveled with dried cod, which gave rise to its commercialization in southern Europe, which has been maintained for more than a thousand years; overcoming the Black Death, different wars, and other crises, so it remains an important fishing trade for this country.

For its part, the Portuguese began fishing for codfish in the fifteenth century, and since then it has not lost its popularity, being one of the main foods of Portugal.

On the other hand, the Basques also played a very important role in the codfish’ trade, since it’s believed that they obtained shoals of Canadian cod, long before the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus

The east coast of North America was developed largely thanks to the large populations of cod in this area, and the benefit that brought the abundance of these fish in this territory. Many New England cities are very close to the codfish fishing grounds.

This fish was so important to the history and development of the city of Massachusetts in the United States, that the House of Representatives of this state hung a wood carving in its chambers, which is known as the sacred cod of Massachusetts.

Apart from the long history of this fish, the cod differs from most of the bony and cartilaginous fish in that its schools are far from population centers.

The large fishmongers along the Norwegian coast have been developed almost exclusively for export, depending on the maritime transport of large fish, for long distances.

Since the introduction of salt, dried and salted codfish have also been exported; so much so, that at the end of the 14th century it was considered the most important product on the market.

In other latitudes it was considered British gold, denying the fishing rights of Newfoundland to the French.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the new world, codfish became a super important commodity, as commercial networks were created, as well as intercultural exchanges. In 1733, Britain tried to gain control over trade between New England and the British Caribbean by imposing the molasses law, which they said would eliminate trade in cod, making it less profitable.

But on the contrary, the trade in codfish grew, because the French were willing to work with a lucrative smuggling agreement. After increasing the trade in codfish, the settlers of New England organized themselves into a «cod aristocracy», rising against the tariff on an import from Great Britain.

In the twentieth century, Iceland re-emerged as a great fishing power, and entered to compete in the cod war. At the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the 21st century, fishing on the European and American coasts severely depleted reserves, and became a major political problem; due to the need to restrict catches to allow populations to recover, it disrupts the fishing industry, and politicians are reluctant to harm employment.

Let’s learn more about them

The Codfish’ Main Traits

Codfish are usually medium to large fishes, with 3 dorsal fins, 2 anal fins, 2 pectoral fins, 2 small pelvic fins and 1 caudal fin. They usually have beards on the lower jaw, as happens with catfish. Their body has a fusiform shape and their weight and size vary according to the species.

The Atlantic codfish or common codfish (Gadus morhua)) can reach up to 2 meters in length and weigh 96-100 kilograms. Its body’s color varies according to the habitat, so in areas of algae it is rather reddish, in those of marine grasses it tends to greenish, and in the sandy bottoms or very deep waters to light gray. The body is covered with dark spots, (especially that of young specimens) with a reticulated reddish color, also more apparent in juveniles, whitish belly and pale sideline.

The Pacific codfish is up to 1 meter long and weighs 15 kilograms. It has a robust body with a reddish-brown and greenish color, mottled and with a darker lateral line than that of common cod. It’s also important to mention that it has a sensitive chin under the lower jaw as well as  three dorsal fins, the middle being the largest of them, two anal fins of similar size and a pair of pectoral fins, the upper one the largest. Its caudal fin is practically straight, with a small concavity practically imperceptible.

The smaller Greenland cod (Arctogadus glacialis) grows up to about 77 centimeters in length. Each species of cod shows a characteristic color, often dark, and darker specks that dot the entire body’s upper part. The ventral region is usually clearer.

For its part, the Atlantic codfish experiences two stages; in one, its body shows a grayish green tone, and in the other, a reddish brown tone. Pacific cod is darker than Atlantic cod. We invite you to read our article the anatomy of fish to learn more about such a topic

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Codfish’ Habitat and Distribution

Codfish are cold water species that are found mainly in the North Atlantic and the Eastern and Western Pacific. Gadus morhua is found on both sides of the Atlantic, from the United States to northern Europe, in seas such as the Baltic, the Barents and the North. Pacific cod persists from the Bering Strait to the Yellow Sea, and south to near California. Now, Gadus ogac is distributed from Alaska to western Greenland. They inhabit deep regions to coastal waters.

What Do Codfish Eat?

Adults have a mostly carnivorous diet, and species such as Atlantic cod are effective predators. Some of their most common prey are whiting, haddock, sprat, herring, crabs, lobsters, mussels, squid and other mollusks. Interestingly, certain species of cod practice cannibalism and consume young individuals of their own species.

The Codfish’ Common Behavior

Cod can make seasonal migrations. In the case of Atlantic cod, it follows the warm water currents in the company of other of its congeners towards spawning or breeding areas. It can be found in areas up to 600 meters deep, but has no problem in approaching the coasts. The Greenland cod prefers continental shelves and coastal waters and is capable of being about 200 meters deep. They are usually gregarious fish, so they are found in large banks.

Properties Of Cod Fish

If you want to keep your brain and heart in perfect health, you should introduce cod meat in your daily basic diet, to take advantage of their omega 3 content.

.Omega 3 fats reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends consuming fish at least two or three times a week, in order to obtain all the benefits provided by these essential fatty acids.

A three-ounce serving of cooked Atlantic cod contains one hundred and sixty calories, twenty-two grams of protein, and five grams of fat, including one gram of saturated fat, and one hundred thirty-four milligrams of omeg-3. Consumption of saturated fats may increase the risk of coronary heart disease, but omega 3 fats have a wonderful protective effect against heart disease.

codfish. omega 3 fats

Many people argue that salmon is a better source of essential vitamins than cod, since eating 3 ounces of salmon will provide you with 45 percent of the daily value of niacin and vitamin B-12, 40 percent of the Daily value (DV) for the vitamin B-6, 25 percent of Daily value for riboflavin, 15 percent of DV for thiamin, and 6 percent of DV for folate.

However, the same amount of cod will provide 15 percent of the daily value of vitamin B-12, 10 percent of DV for niacin and vitamin B-6, 6 percent of DV for thiamine, 4 percent of the DV for riboflavin and 2 percent of the DV for folate.

These B vitamins are essential for creating energy for your body from the foods you eat, as well as keeping your skin, eyes and hair healthy. Vitamin B-12 is especially important, as it only comes from protein sources of animal origin, and a deficiency of this vitamin can cause anemia.

Cod provides more magnesium than salmon, but salmon is a better source of the other essential minerals. A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains 20 percent of the DV for phosphorus, 8 percent of the DV for magnesium and 6 percent of the DV for zinc and iron. Three ounces of cod provide 10 percent of the DV for phosphorus and magnesium, 4 percent of the DV for zinc and 2 percent of the DV for iron.

The body of humans uses phosphorus to produce energy, form strong bones and create DNA. Magnesium keeps your heart rate constant, helps your immune function, as well as keeping your blood sugar level and blood pressure within normal levels.

The primary minerals provided by cod are phosphorus, which is needed to form DNA and hemoglobin in red blood cells, and selenium, which also helps form DNA and acts as an antioxidant to limit cell damage from compounds called radicals.

A 3-ounce serving of Atlantic cod contains 12 percent of the DV for phosphorus and 46 percent of the DV for selenium, while the same amount of Pacific cod supplies 29 percent of the DV for phosphorus and 34 percent of the DV for selenium.

Atlantic cod is a type of shellfish that is the least contaminated with mercury, making it safe for pregnant women to even consume up to 12 ounces per week. Pacific cod is likely to contain slightly higher levels of mercury, so pregnant women should not consume more than six 6-ounce servings per month.

If you want to choose the most environmentally friendly option, it is recommended to avoid the Pacific cod caught near Japan or Russia and the Atlantic cod caught in the United States or Canada, except that caught in the Gulf of Maine.

Properties of cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a source of dense nutrients of essential vitamins, including vitamin D and vitamin A, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Many adults and children can regularly benefit from supplements with cod liver oil.

You can consume oil from eating fresh cod liver or, more likely, take over-the-counter supplements on the market; since each teaspoon of cod liver oil has about 41 calories and 4.5 grams of fat divided between monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The cod liver oil’s most beneficial aspect is that it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, of the same type found in oily fish or shellfish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s  also one of the few and best foods rich in vitamin D.

Omega-3 and vitamin D are known for decreasing inflammation, prevent blood clotting, preserve brain health and prevent depression. They are even capable of causing markedly reduced levels of pain and swelling due to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Multiple studies have linked the consumption of cod liver oil, with the following benefits:

    • Lowers and controls high cholesterol and high triglycerides.
    • Prevents and controls diabetes
    • Low and control high blood pressure
    • Prevents heart disease
    • Reduces the risk of osteoarthritis
    • Coadjutant in the treatment of depression
    • Decreases the risk of autoimmune diseases
    • Combats disorders that have to do with ear infections, allergies, and asthma
    • Prevents and controls kidney diseases.
    • Helps to heal skin diseases and wounds
    • It maintains bone health and prevents bone fractures, and osteoporosis.

Contraindications of the  Cod liver oil

We have already seen how cod liver oil is quite beneficial for the body human’s body due to the many benefits it brings not only to take care of the health of the body, but also to recover and maintain it. But as all things in excess do harm, this vitamin supplement is no exception; so it is suggested to the regular users to consume it, that they don’t  exceed the recommended dose, because the high level of vitamin A and D turns out to be toxic for the organism.

An overdose of cod liver oil can be counterproductive in adults, and much more so when it comes to infants. Care should also be taken to ingest a good quality oil. You can recognize it because its color is pale yellow, and it is an oily liquid with its particular fishy taste.

It has been shown that the amount of vitamin D in a teaspoon of cod liver oil is sufficient to prevent rickets in children of nursing age; where it was shown that in a population of thirty-seven infants treated for six months, ninety-two percent of them, did not develop this disease.

Cod liver oil along with a mineral multivitamin is effective in chronic and recurrent sinusitis in children. This has the advantage of being well accepted by children, because it has a pleasant taste.

But for this same reason should pay special attention, because there are many children who abuse this vitamin supplement to be pleasing to taste, and being a natural product, parents do not believe that can have any kind of contraindication.

In this case, as in the rest of the medicines, it’s recommended to keep them out of reach of children, and not to supply them lightly, without proper medical prescription. Remember that despite being a natural product, it also has certain contraindications.

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Fishing Cod fish

We already know what are the most representative characteristics of cod, now we will focus on knowing what are the most practiced and effective fishing techniques, let’s do it!. Due to  their high commercial value, cods are usually the victim of industrial fishing or trawling mostly with nets, longlines or pots. This type of fishing depletes our seas and sea beds, We only approve sustainable fishing, sport fishing especially in its form of capture and release or fishing without death, which is the way to enjoy the sport of fishing without ending the aquatic fauna in a massive way.

To know how to fish for cod in the sport fishing modality, the technique to be used will be bottom fishing or jigging. Live bait should be used normally and in good condition, since cod usually eat anything, this bait is placed on the hook leaving only the tip of the bait visible.

For the jigging fishing they are used short reeds, of between 1.65 m and 2.40 m, it will depend on the space that we have in our boat, telescopic or plug-in rods of a single section at the most two sections, that if, must be powerful canes with a great action, usually progressive action but this will also depend on the fisherman’s likes.

For cod fishing the jigging reels have to be of short ratios, without much speed but with a great braking power. They even use electric reels much more powerful than the manual ones, since for deep fishing from a boat they need strong, robust and powerful materials to catch these «sea monsters» and because cods can weigh almost 50 kg in their adult phase. For cods’ fishing in what threads refers, for depths of 30 m they are usually used monofilaments of nylon of diameters of 0.40 to 0.50 mm and for larger funds can be used braided thread of 0, 30 to 0 , 40 mm approximately since it is stronger and does not stretch like nylon.

Do not wait to take your catch from the water to your boat with the rod, since you would split it, but help yourself with a boat hook so it will be more practical and you will ensure the health of your fishing equipment. And to take care of your health, we advise you to use a jigging belt, harness or inkwell for cod fishing, as we assure you that the «battle» will be hard and our waist and back will suffer during the fishing day.

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A very tasty Cod’s recipe (Cod with tomato)

The cod with tomato is a traditional recipe, very easy to prepare and delicious. Traditionally the cod is flour and fried but with this recipe you will discover that it can be cooked in another way and to be equally delicious and juicy without frying. The accompaniment cannot be better, a delicious tomato sauce that is prepared with an over fried low heat. Ingredients to prepare cod with tomato (4 people):

    • 4 loins of fresh and desalted cod. It can also be prepared with frozen cod or with salted cod, in the latter case it will be necessary to desalt it and since it has to be two days immersed in water and changing the water 2-3 times a day it seems more practical to use already desalted cod.
    • 1 onion.
    • 2 cloves of garlic.
    • 500 g of pear-ripe tomatoes and either use sifted tomatoes that already sell canned, no skins or nuggets and I use it a lot.
    • A pinch of salt and a bit of sugar.
    • Extra virgin olive oil.

Preparation, how to make the recipe of cod with tomato:

    • For the whole recipe, a pot or casserole is going to be used, so in size you need the cod loins to be put on it without being on top of each other. The classic way to prepare this recipe is passing the loins of cod by flour and frying them in abundant oil but I prefer this other method with which you get a juicy and well-cooked cod without using so much oil or high temperatures.
    • Cover the bottom of the pot with extra virgin olive oil and put over low heat.
    • Insert the cod loins with the skin facing down, in contact with the base. The temperature of the oil must be the one that goes cooking the cod slowly, that there is only a very slight bubbling, it is not needed anymore.
    • Let it cook for 8 minutes on one side and 8 on the other, stirring the pot from time to time and even turning it a little to the sides so that the oil flows over the cod. If your loins are thicker than the ones I have used, cook them 2 more minutes on each side.
    • Take the cod along with the oil and remove it to another plate.
    • While the cod is cooking, peel and chop the garlic cloves and peel and finely chop the onion.
    • Return to take 4 tablespoons of the cod oil in the pot and put the heat to medium-low temperature.
    • Toss the garlic and onion with a little salt and let them cook slowly until the onion is tender and not browned, it will take about 10 minutes.


    • If you are going to use sifted tomato, you can skip this step that you do have to do if you use fresh tomato. Wash the tomatoes very well, to cook them you have two options, the second with tricks: remove the center yellow and hard, chop them finite and toss them into the pan or, if you prefer as I have no skins or pips, crush them whole with a mixer or robot and strain them so that the skins and pips stay in the colander.
    • Put the tomato in the pot and over a low heat continue cooking it all together for 25-30 minutes stirring it from time to time. If you sprinkle the tomato a little while it is cooked, you can cover the pot a bit but always leaving a hole through which the steam rises to reduce the sauce. It will be ready when the mixture has reduced enough and is thick.
    • Try the sauce in case you have to rectify it with salt or if you have to add a little sugar to reduce acidity. I have used barely half a teaspoon of sugar dessert.
    • Put the cod in the pot, mix it a little by pouring sauce over it but being careful not to break it and, just before serving, turn on the heat at medium heat and let it cook for just 3 minutes, stirring a little. cooking pot.

Serve and taste:

It is a recipe that always arrives freshly made to the table because at the last moment is when the cod comes together with the tomato sauce and is heated all together. That if, when the heat squeezes you can also serve it cold, but as long as you have previously cooked the cod a few minutes with the sauce. In any case, it is a recipe that you can leave ready in advance and if it is from one day to the next, keep the cod submerged in the sauce.

You can take the pot directly to the table on a table mat or take the dishes from the diners in the kitchen. To serve it, put first a generous bed of sauce and on top of the cod loin, with a little more sauce on top. To decorate you can use a few leaves of parsley or similar and even sprinkle a bit of freshly ground black pepper, it’s … scandal!

Enjoy your dish


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