COD

  • Commonly found throughout the British Isles. Cod are semi-migrational, with some moving to colder Scandinavian waters in the summer, while other (usually smaller) specimens stay around the UK all year round. Their range extends throughout much of Europe and they are also found in American and Canadian waters.

  • Feeds on: Cod have an insatiable appetite and will feed on anything they can find. Worms, prawns, shellfish, crabs, lobsters, octopus and any other form of marine life will all be devoured. Cod will also actively hunt other smaller fish.

  • Description: Upper jaw protrudes with prominent barbule on chin. Head is large and can make up a quarter of overall length, mouth is also large. White underbelly with lateral line that curves upwards and three dorsal fins. Colour is usually greenish/grey/tan speckled flanks and back. However, cod which have lived their whole life in weedy areas will have taken on a different colour and can be brownish, or even red.

  • Cod are found all around the UK, although being a cold-water species they are more common around in the autumn and winter, although some remain around the UK all year round, especially the smaller specimens. Like many species cod form into large, loose shoals when small but become solitary once they reach larger sizes. It is thought that once cod reach around 20 – 30lb they move away from shallow inshore waters and live in the open sea, feeding exclusively by hunting other fish. There is much confusion over the terms cod and codling. Although things vary from place to place a cod is generally classed as being 6lb or over, while a specimen smaller than this is a codling. Cod found around the UK are actually a specific species called Atlantic cod (Gadus Morhua), even if they are found in the North Sea, English Channel or any other area. This is because there are two other species of true cod: Pacific cod (Gadus Macrocephalus) and Greenland cod (Gadus Ogac). Both of these species are smaller than the Atlantic cod and are not found in British waters. There are also other species from different countries which are sometimes referred to as cod such as blue cod in New Zealand and Murray cod and sleepy cod from Australia. However, it is only cod in the Gadus genus which are true cod, and many of the foreign species have had cod added to their name to make them more commercially appealing. It is a mistake to think that red cod which are sometimes caught by UK anglers are a different species – they are simply cod which have lived their whole lives in heavy weed and kelp, and have therefore taken on a different colour to adapt to these surroundings.

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