Atlantic Cod | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Atlantic Cod

Gadus morhua

Also known as

Cod, codling, codfish, bank cod, scrod, northern cod


Temperate to sub-polar waters on the continental shelf in the North Atlantic


Heterogeneous habitats

Feeding Habits

Active predator

Conservation Status



Order Gadiformes (cods and relatives), Family Gadidae (true cods)


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Cod is an iconic species that has played an important role throughout Canada’s history. It used to be the country’s largest—and arguably the most important—fishery. Cod was so significant to the economy of Atlantic Canada that it was called “Newfoundland currency.” From the time the New World was discovered up until the cod collapse in the 1990s, this fish was the dominant commercial species of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Today, populations in certain areas, notably the northern cod found off the southern coast of Labrador and the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, are beginning to show early signs of a comeback.