The coalfish has a typical cod family shaped body with three dorsal and two anal fins. The first anal fin originates beneath the space between the first and second dorsal fins. The upper and lower jaws are approximately equal in length and there is no chin barbel. The lateral line is straight and light in colour. The back and sides are dusky greenish-brown or blackish and the belly is silvery white. The pale lateral line is conspicuous against the dusky sides. Most adult fish are between 70-80cm in length although it can grow to 1.3m. See comments on the pollack (Pollachius pollachius).
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