The Pacific commercial cod fishery (all 4 gear types) is jointly managed by NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Our cod is commercially harvested by jig gear in the Gulf of Alaska, Being Sea, and Aleutian Islands management area around Kodiak Island. Fishermen must have a permit to participate in these fisheries, and the number of available permits is limited to control the amount of fishing. Managers determine how much Pacific cod can be caught and then allocate this catch quota among groups of fishermen. Catch is monitored through record keeping, reporting requirements, and observer monitoring. Fishermen must retain all of their Pacific cod catch. Pacific Cod is one of the largest groundfish harvests in the US, with landings of over 500 million pounds on an annual basis. The Alaska cod fishery is certified under two independent certification standards for sustainable fisheries, RFM and MSC.
Pacific cod live for 20 years or less and can grow up to 6 feet in length. Females are able to reproduce when they’re 4 or 5 years old; between 1.6 and 1.9 feet long. Pacific cod spawn from January to May on the continental shelf edge and upper slope in waters 330 to 820 feet deep. Females can produce more than 1 million eggs when they spawn. Pacific cod school together and move seasonally from deep outer and upper continental shelf areas (where they spawn) to shallow middle-upper continental shelf feeding grounds. They feed on clams, worms, crabs, shrimp, and juvenile fish.
Wild Pacific Cod, also known as Alaska Cod, Gray Cod, and True cod provides moist, firm filets, a distinctive large flake and a slightly sweet flavor. We just received our first shipment of fresh cod for the season, come see us at the Los Ranchos Growers Market on Saturday and check it out. Here’s a recipe to get you started:
Spring Green Alaska Cod Potato Cakes
- 1 pound Pacific cod filet
- 1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley and thyme leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon minced scallions or chives
Simmer the cod
Fill a large sauté pan or stockpot with enough water to cover seafood and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and gently add seafood to water; return heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cover pan tightly and cook 4-5 minutes for frozen or 2 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Turn off heat and let seafood rest in liquid for 5 minutes, or until seafood is opaque throughout. Remove cod from water; cool slightly and flake into small pieces.
Mix and form cod cakes
Stir together cod, mashed potatoes, scallions, parsley, thyme, garlic and egg just until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 1/4 cup portions; flatten each portion into 3-inch diameter patties.
Fry the cod cakes
Heat butter/oil mixture in a pan over medium heat. Add cakes (in batches) and sauté until browned on both sides; keep warm.
Make yogurt sauce and serve
Blend together feta cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, zest and scallions. Serve sauce with cakes.
Variation: Alaska cod can be poached, steamed, baked or sautéed until opaque throughout; cool slightly before breaking into small flakes.
4 servings prepared and cooked in 30 minutes.
Brenna & Kenny