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Types and Sources of Product
In the United States two similar but different cod species are harvested commercially, the Atlantic cod native to the northern Atlantic Ocean and Pacific cod which can be found throughout the northern Pacific Ocean. Both of these cod species are part of a group of fish species often referred to as “Groundfish” because they usually live on or near the ocean floor. Some other species in this group include pollock, haddock, hake, ocean perch and flatfish.
The majority of cod currently landed in the United States is Pacific Cod. This fishery takes place off of the west coast of the U.S. and Alaska with the majority of landings from the Alaskan fishery. Pacific cod are harvested with trawl nets, long lines, and traps.
Atlantic cod ranges from the Mid-Atlantic U.S. states through New England and the northern waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Canada, Greenland and Europe. The primary fishing gear is trawl nets with some of the catch from gillnets and long lines.
There are no existing commercial aquaculture operations for Atlantic or Pacific Cod in the United States, although ocean farming techniques for Atlantic Cod are being developed.
The United States imports cod mainly from Canada, China and Iceland.
Atlantic and Pacific Cod comes in many product forms including fresh and frozen fillets, frozen whole fish, breaded fillets or portions, smoked, dried, salted and canned products. Cod is one of the types of groundfish that are often used in traditional “fish and chips”.
Cod is a low fat flaky white meat fish that is a good source of protein, phosphorus, niacin, and Vitamin B-12. An individual 100 g (raw) portion of cod has less than 90 calories, less than one gram of fat, and 17 grams of protein.
Management & Sustainability
Atlantic cod populations are currently believed to be low and strict management measures have been implemented to rebuild the population. This East Coast fishery is highly regulated and fishing is restricted to ensure sustainability.
Pacific cod is considered healthy and abundant throughout its range and not subject to overfishing. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Cod is “hailed as being one of the best managed fisheries in the world”.