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Aug 5, 2014 | 11:01 PM EDT
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The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a well-known benthopelagic fish belonging to the family Gadidae widely consumed by humans. 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 around both coasts of Greenland and the Labrador Sea; in the eastern Atlantic, it is found from the Bay of Biscay north to the Arctic Ocean, including the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, Sea of the Hebrides,[3] areas around Iceland and the Barents Sea.

It can grow to 2 meters in length and weigh up to 96 kilograms (212 lb). It can live for 25 years and usually attains sexual maturity between ages two and four,[4] but cod in the northeast Arctic can take as long as eight years to fully mature.[5] 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.[6] This absence of the apex predator has led to a trophic cascade in many areas.[6] Many other cod stocks remain at risk. The "Atlantic cod" is labelled VU (vulnerable) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.