The Cod

Box for salt cod

The Atlantic CodCod Gadus morhua

A food fish of the cool water of the North Atlantic: Gadus morhua. The species that was the major attraction for European fishermen to come to America. The stock is now severely overfished with total collapse and closing of the famous cod fishing grounds off of Newfoundland.
, Gadus morhua, has long been the North Atlantic’s most important food fish. Pursuit of cod may have led Europeans to visit North America, before ColumbusColumbus, Christopher Christopher Columbus

1451-1506. Italian explorer and navigator. After finding Spanish backing for his plan to find a short way to the Orient, he sailed in 1492 and landed in the Bahamas, then explored a portion of the Caribbean before returning.
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. Cod is good to eat, simple to prepare, and easy to preserve without refrigeration.

Most cod caught today weigh only about five pounds, but a hundred fifty years ago they routinely weighed 25 to 35 pounds. Some have been caught weighing 100 to 200 pounds.

Fish Flakes

Unlike other fish, cod meat salts and dries well and can be preserved for a long time. When soaked in fresh water it reconstitutes with good flavor and texture. It is a high-protein, low-oil food. These desirable characteristics, along with the Catholic Church’s rule against eating meat on Fridays, made cod popular in European markets.

Cod live near the bottom of the ocean, but not in extremely deep water. They prefer the banksBanks

As a nautical term, banks are shallow areas which are often prime fishing grounds.
, or shallow parts of the continental shelf, where the water is 20 to 70 fathomsFathom

A measure equal to 6 feet, normally used to measure depths.
deep. Cod like a rocky or sandy, rather than a muddy bottom, and a water temperature of 40 to 50 degrees F. Cod’s preference for cold water accounts for their large concentrations from Cape CodCape Cod

A landmark for early European explorers, in 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold named Cape Cod for the large number of cod he found off the Cape, on a voyage looking for trading opportunities and fishing grounds. This name was one of the things that attracted the Pilgrims to the Cape in 1620. Cape Cod has been the site of many wrecks of coasting schooners.
to Newfoundland.

Cod come in closer to shore to spawnSpawn

The eggs of fish, or, as a verb, the laying of eggs by fish.
. Penobscot Bay and Frenchman’s Bay had huge cod populations in the past.