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The Pacific cod, Gadus macrocephalus, also known as gray cod, is an important commercial food species. It has three separate dorsal fins, and the catfish-like whiskers on its lower jaw. In appearance, it is similar to the Atlantic Cod (G. morhua). A bottom dweller, it is found mainly along the continental shelf and upper slopes with a range around the rim of the North Pacific Ocean, from the Yellow Sea to the Bering Strait, along the Aleutian Islands, and south to about Los Angeles, down to the depths of 900 meters. Pacific cod grow relatively quickly, and live up to about 18 years. Fully grown, they can reach 48–49 cm and weigh up to 15 kg. It is found in huge schools, feeding on small invertebrates including clams, worms, shrimp, and small fish. In the Northwest Pacific the USA trawl fishery and joint-venture fisheries increased their cod catches from less than 1,000 tons in 1979 to nearly 91,000 tons in 1984 and reached 430,196 tons in 1995. Today, catches are tightly regulated and the Pacific cod quota is split among fisheries that use hook and line gear, pots, and bottom trawls. In 2010, 15.7% of ground fish caught in Alaska was Pacific cod.

(Alaska Fisheries Science Center; Wikipedia 2011)


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