Norwegian COD

The largest stock in the world

Norwegian cod can live up to 40 years and grow up to 2 metres long while weighing 60 kilos. We know the cod as a ‘male’ fish – a ‘fighter’ – and every part of is precious.

After school each day, children who grow up on the coast help the fishermen prepare their catches on the docks when the boats come in. For centuries, Norwegian fishermen have let children cut the cod tongues out and keep them, either to sell at the docks or to take home and eat with their families.

Of all the saltwater fish around Norway, cod is the most abundant and the most important to us economically. It’s easy to recognise:

  • Its long, stout body
  • A curving white sideline
  • A distinctive beard thread under the chin

In Norway, we are lucky to have the largest cod stock in the world. Over 90% of our cod catches come from North-East Arctic cod stock. These cod grow up in the cold, clear waters of the Barents Sea and so are known as Barents Sea Cod.

How we manage the stocks

Seafood from Norway works with Russia to jointly manage the North-East Arctic cod stock. We set the annual total allowable catch of cod working with recommendations from the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and it has been a record high for the last few years.

Read about our cod’s accreditation here (LINK TO SUSTAINABILITY/ACCREDITATION PAGE HERE) and read more about Norwegian cod management here.

What people say about our cod

  • “The Barents Sea codfishery is a success story that should be celebrated and used as a leading example for fisheries managers across the world. In order to recover all Atlantic cod populations we have to see similar management measures being implemented elsewhere.” Rasmus Hansson, CEO of WWF-Norway, September 2010.
  • ”The reasons for this success are many; one is that Norwegian fisheries management is simply world class…” Camiel Derichs, Marine Stewardship Council, April 2010, commenting on the MSC-certification on north-east arctic cod.
  • “A contributory factor to the growth in stocks of Norwegian Codmay well be that we have succeeded in reducing illegal fishing in the Barents Sea,” Liv Holmefjord, Norway’s director of Fisheries, May 13th 2011.

Cod season

We catch Norwegian Arctic cod (skrei) from January to April, and young cod (spring cod) from April to June. Later, fishing moves to the polar region. We catch coastal cod all year round.

What do you call it?

Latin: Gadus morhua
Norwegian: Torsk
French: Cabillaud, Morue
German: Dorsch, Kabeljau

How we eat it

Cod is sold fresh or frozen, in slices, fillets or whole. It is also sold lightly salted and smoked, and as a dried fish or (as we say) lutefisk. Cod has a mild flavour that goes well with many ingredients and seasonings. Its delicate meat is easy to slice, but it shouldn’t be cut into small pieces.

In-depth

There are two main types of cod: migratory oceanic cod and stationary coastal cod. Coastal cod is a typical demersal fish (bottom dweller) while migratory cod is pelagic (stays near the surface).

Of all cod varieties, the Norwegian Arctic cod (skrei) is the most important to Norway. It spends most of its life in the Barents Sea, but migrates both when immature and when sexually mature.

Norwegian Arctic cod becomes sexually mature at 2 to 6 years of age. Its spawning areas extend from Finnmark to Stad, but the most important fields are off Lofoten. The spawning migration of the Norwegian Arctic cod continues to form a basis of our most important seasonal fishing – Lofotfisket.

Young cod in the Barents Sea migrate towards the Finnmark coast in spring, after it has reached sexual maturity. At that time, it is known as young cod and forms the basis for traditional spring cod fishing. Coastal cod is similar to Barents Sea cod, but is more stationary in shallow waters. It appears from the shore all the way down to depths of nearly 1,900 feet.

Our stocks

The large cod stocks in the Barents Sea are growing well with 450,000–500,000 tons harvested annually. Coastal cod stocks are not as strong as the Norwegian Arctic cod stocks. Efforts are currently underway build up cod stocks the same way herring stocks were increased in the 1990s. Cod farming is on the increase, and fresh cod can be found in shops all year round.

How we fish

Cod is fished using bottom trawl nets, Danish seine nets, fishing lines, traditional nets, hand lines or fishpots.

Norwegian Cod Fish

Nutrition facts

Nutritional value per 100 g of boneless cod

Energy: 315 kJ or 75 kcal

Nutrients (g): Protein: 17

Fat: 0.7 Of which saturated fat: 0.13 Monounsaturated fat: 0.08 Polyunsaturated fat: 0.28 Of which Omega 3 (n-3): 0.24 Omega 6 (n-6): 0.02 Cholesterol: 50 mg

Carbohydrates: 0

Vitamins: Thiamine: 0.05 mg C: 2 mg Riboflavin: 0.04 mg Niacin: 4.6 mg B6: 0.26 mg Folate: 12 μg B12: 0.8 μg A: – D: 1 μg E: 1 mg

Minerals: Calcium: 16 mg Phosphorus: 190 mg Iron: 0.2 mg Magnesium: 28 mg Potassium: 355 mg Zinc: 0.4 mg Selenium: 27 μg