Lingcod | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Lingcod

Ophiodon elongatus

Also known as

Blue cod, cultus cod, green cod, leopard cod, bluefish, greenling

Distribution

Northeast Pacific from the Gulf of Alaska, USA to Baja California, Mexico

Écosystèmes/habitats

Rocky bottoms

Feeding Habits

Aggressive predator

Conservation Status

Not listed

Taxonomie

Order Scorpaeniformes (scorpionfishes & flatheads); Family Hexagrammidae (greenlings)

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The scientific name for Lingcod, Ophiodon elongates, comes from the Greek ophis for snake and odons for tooth and the Latin elongates, or elongated, all of which provide a fitting description for this long-bodied, large-mouthed, toothy fish. Although the word “cod” is also in their name, lingcod are not actually cod; they are a member of the greenling family. 

For centuries, lingcod have been a popular fish for people to eat, with records of them being harvested dating back 5,000 years. Early European settlers began fishing lingcod in near-shore waters in the mid-1800s, and by the 1860s commercial handline and jig fisheries took off. Before the expansion of commercial fisheries on the Pacific coast in the early 1900s, lingcod was the main source of fresh fish to eat all year long. Their sedentary lifestyle made them available and easy to catch in any season. Catches peaked in the late 1960s, declining steeply throughout the 1970s with a short increase after the introduction of Canada’s 200-nautical mile jurisdiction in 1977. Catches have declined over the past couple decades, but today lingcod still supports a fairly healthy fishery off of Canada’s Pacific coast.

Lingcod caught by hook-and-line and bottom longline fisheries are considered a sustainable seafood option by most certifications, however there are some concerns surrounding the sustainability of lingcod caught by trawl fisheries.