Pacific Cod

Scientific name:Gadus macrocephalus


The Pacific cod is a type of marine fish found in the Pacific ocean from Japan to northern California. This cod is extremely important in the commercial fishing industry, specifically in Alaska. The scientific name of the Pacific cod is Gadus macrocephalus.

Also called the Alaska cod, the gray cod, and the true cod, the Pacific cod has a long body with three dorsal and two anal fins, and a square caudal fin, or tail. These fish have brown or gray backs and light bellies. Brown or pale spots dot their skin, and their fins are often edged in white. Although the longest Pacific cod recorded was 37.4 inches (95 cm), they average 24 inches (61 cm). In northern waters, these fish grow slower, reach larger sizes, and live longer than their southern counterparts.

Usually found at depths of 164–984 feet (50–300 m), the Pacific cod is a coastal fish, living on slopes and shelf edges in the winter and coming into shallower water in the summer. They have been found in water as deep as 2,812 feet (857 m) and as shallow as 33 feet (10 m). As a ground fish, this cod stays near the floor of its habitat. It preys on worms, crustaceans, and young fish, and is preyed on by sharks, seals, and halibut.