Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus), also known as grey cod, are moderately fast growing and relatively short-lived fish, with a maximum age of 18 years.
Cod are demersal, which means they live on or near the bottom of the ocean and concentrate on the shelf edge and upper slope in the winter and move to shallower waters in the summer. Pacific cod school together with the adults preferring ocean floors of mud, sand and clay. Pacfic cod will be found at different depths, moving seasonally, depending on if they are feeding or spawning. Pacific cod can live up to 20 years and on the rare occasion can reach 6’ or longer. Cod prey on clams, worms, crabs, shrimp, and juvenile fish. In turn, they are eaten by halibut and marine mammals. Pacific cod are typically harvested using a trawl or longline.
Trawlers head, gut and freeze the fish immediately after harvest. This preserves freshness, taste and quality of the fish. Although Cod is available year round, peak season for the fishery is Autumn and Winter.
Pacific cod are managed under two Fishery Management Plans: one for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region and the other for the Gulf of Alaska region. The Fishery Management Plans control the fishery through permits and limited entry, catch quotas, gear restrictions, closed waters, seasons, bycatch limits and other measures
NOAA Fisheries is responsible for approving and implementing these measures.