Atlantic cod

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The Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, is a well-known demersal food fish belonging to the family Gadidae. It is also commercially known as cod, codling or haberdine.[2]

In the western Atlantic Ocean cod has a distribution north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and round both coasts of Greenland; in the eastern Atlantic it is found from the Bay of Biscay north to the Arctic Ocean, including the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, areas around Iceland and the Barents Sea.

It can grow to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) in length and weigh up to 96 kilograms (210 lb). It can live for 25 years and sexual maturity is generally attained between ages 2 to 4,[3] but can be as late as 8 years in the northeast Arctic.[4] Colouring is brown to green with spots on the dorsal side, shading to silver ventrally. A lateral line is clearly visible. Its habitat ranges from the shoreline down to the continental shelf.

Several cod stocks collapsed in the 1990s (declined by >95% of maximum historical biomass) and have failed to recover even with the cessation of fishing.[5] This absence of the apex predator has led to a trophic cascade in many areas.[5] Many other cod stocks remain at risk. The "Atlantic Cod" is labelled VU (vulnerable) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[1]

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