Pacific cod

Grant Thompson, Thomas Hurst, Jessica Miller

Latin name: Gadus macrocephalus

Stocks of Pacific cod in the Eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands area have supported one of the largest commercial fisheries in the U.S. for the last three decades.  Setting appropriate harvest targets and limits has been key to this success.  Dr. Grant Thompson has been the lead author of the official scientific assessments for these two stocks since the mid-1980s. - Grant Thompson

Research information

In the Bering Sea, juvenile Pacific cod use two types of nursery habitats: surface waters over the broad Continental Shelf and shallow coastal waters along the Alaska Peninsula. Using field sampling and modeling, we examined habitat value across these habitat types. Coastal habitats generally supported the highest densities of cod and offered the greatest opportunities for growth. But analyses suggest that continued warming of the Bering Sea may result in a reduction in growth opportunities for cod as well as a shift of optimal habitat to cooler offshore waters. - Thomas Hurst, Jessica Miller

Did you know? The EBS and AI Pacific cod stocks have sustained a combined harvest of at least 140,000 metric tons every year for the last 30 years. Although these stocks have been maintained at very high levels since the early 1980s, abundance has historically undergone wide fluctuations, which is presumed to be the reason that the Aleut name for the species translates to, "the fish that stops."

Publications:

Annual harvest targets and limits (https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Docs/2016/EBSpcod.pdf, https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Docs/2016/aipcod.pdf)