Greenland Cod fish identification, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
The Greenland cod, Gadus ogac, is very similar to the Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua morhua, in form, but it lacks the distinguishing round spots of the Atlantic cod, and its lateral line is not accompanied by a light longitudinal stripe on the tail as is the Atlantic cod. They are bottom fishes inhabiting inshore waters and continental shelves, up to depths of 200 m. and ranges in the ice covered waters of Arctic Ocean and Northwest Atlantic Ocean. It grows to 28 inches (80 cm) in length, lives from 9 to 21 years, and is generally sombre, ranging from tan to brown to silvery in color. Their wholesome flesh is whitish and flaky but firmer and tougher and less desirable than that of the Atlantic cod. Its commercial importance but the stock of Greenland cod has been strongly reduced in recent years.
They widely distributed in the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic in west Greenland, west to Point Barrow, Alaska, southward into Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay and the Hudson Strait, and thence along the Arctic coast east and south to the Canadian coast, to the Miramichi estuary, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador, further south to Bras D’Or Lake and Cape Breton Island; a distinct population in the White Sea.
The Greenland cod, Gadus ogac, known as rock cod, ogac, uvac, Morue ogac in French, Bacalao de Groenlandia in Spanish, Fjord-dorsch and Grönland-dorsch in Germany, is a commercially harvested food fish distributed from waters of Arctic Ocean and Northwest Atlantic Ocean.
The Greenland cod, often called by its Inuktitut name, ogac, is a close relative of the Atlantic cod and, like its cousin, heavy-bodied, elongate, only slightly flattened sidewise, usually with a stout caudal peduncle. It also has a projecting snout, a thin, well developed barbel on its chin, a light-colored lateral line, and large eyes. The difference also in coloration, unlike the Atlantic cod, the Greenland cod has no dark spots on its body. Instead, the coloration is brown to black with pale yellowish blotches and a grey to white belly. Male ogac have long club-shaped breeding tubercles on their body scales.
The body deepest under the first dorsal fin (about 1/4th to 1/5th as deep as they are long, tapering to a slout slender caudal peduncle, and head is about 1/3rd of the total length of the fish. The nose is conical and blunt at the tip; the mouth wide, with the angle of the jaw reaching back as far as the anterior part of the eye; and there are many very small teeth in both jaws. They have 3 dorsal fins and 2 anal fins. The first dorsal fin is rounded, usually originates well in front of the midlength of the pectoral fins; it is the highest of the 3 dorsal fins, triangular, with rounded apex and convex margin. The second dorsal fin is nearly twice as long as the first dorsal and about twice as long as it is high, decreasing in height from front to rear with slightly convex margin. The third dorsal fin is a little longer than the first dorsal, and is similar to the second dorsal in shape. The caudal fin is about as broad as the third dorsal fin is long (rather small for the size of the fish) and broom-shaped. The two anal fins stand below the second and third dorsal fins, to which they correspond in height, in length, and in shape.
Its lack of fin spines; the location of its ventral fins forward of its pectoral fins, and the fact that its upper jaw protrudes beyond the lower; that its tail is usually nearly square, and that its lateral line is pale, not black. Lower jaw shorter than upper; palatine teeth lacking.
Head relatively broad, interorbital space 18-25% of head length; Predorsal distance less than about 33% of length. Lower jaw shorter than upper; palatine teeth lacking. Chin barbel well developed. First anal fin base short, less than one-half of preanal distance; pectoral fins falling far short of anal fin origin; pelvic fins with a slightly elongated filament. Lateral line pale, continuous for at least mid-length of third dorsal fin, interrupted to end of caudal peduncle; lateral line pores present on head. Scales are overlapping. Body is unspotted.
Color dark, blackish brown above, lighter below, ranging from tan to brown to silvery, with yellowish marblings dorsally and on sides; the tip of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins black; ventral and pectorals dark brown or black, a dusky spot on the axil and barbell is black.
14 or 15-18 + 20-17 + 20 Dorsal fin rays.
20 + 22-18 + 19 Anal fin rays.
Predorsal distance less than 1/3rd of length
Lower jaw shorter than upper
Max length: 80 cm.
Max age: 12 years.
Greenland cod, Gadus ogac is very similar in appearance to the Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua morhua, in form, but is generally smaller and rounder, and with somewhat different (darker) coloration both externally and internally. The Greenland cod lacks the distinguishing round spots of the Atlantic cod, and its lateral line is not accompanied by a light longitudinal stripe on the tail as is the Atlantic cod. This species resembles the common cod, Gadus Callarias, but differs from it as follows: it has more slender caudal peduncle, larger eye, greater interorbital width, longer barbell, more advanced position of ventral fins, and a longer pectoral fin.
Greenland cod are bottom fishes inhabiting cold temperate to arctic waters, usually inshore waters and continental shelves, from 0 to 200 m. depth in cold waters in the northern part of their range, and are rarely found offshore, in deeper warmer water up to 400 m. Along the Labrador coast, this species is the most common type of codfish to be found in harbors and inlets, occurring less commonly in offshore waters. They do not migrate out too far from shore, preferring to swim in the shallower, coastal waters, and distributed evenly down to 35 m depth; also they don’t form large schools. Greenland Cod can tolerate water that is of lower salinity levels, but they are not found in fresh water. During the spring they spawn in shallow ocean waters.
They are a carnivorous species that feeds primarily on fishes, such as capelin, polar cod, and Greenland halibut, Arctic cod, smaller Greenland cod, they are also sometimes cannibals and eat each other, but have few other predators. They are also eat benthic crustaceans (crabs, amphipods), molluscs, starfishes, cephalopods, euphausiids, squids, polychaetes, echinoderms, worms, and other aquatic life forms.
Greenland cod matures at 2 to 4 years of age and spawns in shallow waters from February to May with the pick in late March – early April. They spawned once a year, in the spring, thereafter in the ocean, or occasionally in brackish waters, with each female producing from one to two million large eggs. The eggs sink to the bottom after spawning. They tended to remain in the inlet and were not taken on the open coast.
Many of the matured cod migrated to Iceland to spawn on Icelandic grounds. A t the same time spawning occurred on the banks of south-east Greenland; this area has become the more important spawning area for cod at South Greenland.
Fish aged 5 to 6 years attain lengths of about 50 cm; seldom lives beyond 9 years and rarely exceeds 60 cm total length. In Greenland waters, the maximum age is about 11 years.
Greenland Cod are fished commercially; their meat is whitish and flaky but firmer and tougher and less desirable than Atlantic cod. Owing to the texture of their flesh, they have little value for commercial fishing, although they are occasionally caught in small quantities. It used to be rather abundant in coastal waters of Greenland. The stock of Greenland Cod has been reduced in recent years, perhaps due to competition with other species, including the Atlantic Cod.
The two techniques that work well for catching a cod are rigs with baits and jigging.
Cod feed on sand eels, yabbies, bardi grubs, haddock, squid, crabs, lobsters, mussels, sea worms, crabs, mackerel, molluscs, etc. The best baits to use are sea clams, yabbies, bardi grubs and sea worms. Cod rig is primarily made of swivel, bead for stop knot and the end part, hook. The baits are hooked up between the bead and the main hook. Drop the rig down to the bottom. You can keep it fixed or lift it to a few inches up, and then drop it again.
Jigging required of using artificial baits, like Tube jigs, Slab Jigs, Norwegian Jigs or Diamond Jigs. This is an effective method widely used to catch a cod. Tube jig is a hollow cylindrical lure made of plastic, without any fancy jargons. Sponge with scent is filled in the hollow part of the tube jig, to lure the cod. Slab Jigs used to attract the cod by the flapping effect produced from the jig. Norwegian Jigs are long and shiny and is used to imitate and resembles a herring. Diamond Jigs are mostly used to catch big cods. The hooks of these jigs are inclined at 45 degrees and have efficient catching abilities.
Some tips for Cod fishing:
Spring season is the best time for cod fishing, as they cruise near the shores during this time.
Cods are active and swim around in shallow waters during the early morning and evening hours.
Cods are mostly found in the deep waters and are reluctant to move from its area. Drop the rig down to the bottom.
Cods usually move around the waters in groups. If you caught one, keep dropping your rig in the nearby places to get more cods.
Cods have a small mouth. Use small bait.
Cod meat is white in color, is moist and lean, medium- to firm-textured, and delicately flavorful with a mild taste. Tender, thick fillets with large flakes that "gape" (separate) when cooked. It is a good source of low fat protein, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin B12 with a mild flavor and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
Cod is excellent for poaching, broiling, baking, braising, and frying. A popular main ingredient in chowders, which are creamy and binding enough to support the big flakes of meat that fall apart when cooked. Whole cod are often stuffed and baked. Heads and bones make fine soup stock.