A distinction is made in Norwegian waters between north-east Arctic cod, coastal cod and North-Sea cod. Cod is a predatory fish that can reach a length of up to 1.5 metres and a weight of 40 kg. Its life span is up to 40 years. Farmed cod are harvested when they are two to three years old and weigh three to four kg.
Farmed cod are sold all year, fresh or frozen, as steaks, whole fish or in fillets. Lightly salted and smoked cod, salted and dried cod, and dried cod are also sold. Cod farming is not very common in Norway today.
There are a number of challenges linked to farming cod. Cod larvae have complex nutritional requirements. The digestive system of marine fish larvae is not fully developed and they cannot, therefore, live on dry feed, but need live feed in the form of animal plankton during the early phases of life. If larvae and fry do not get sufficient quantities of various nutrients, it can lead to abnormal development and deformities. NIFES is working on mapping how various nutrients affect the development of larvae and fry.
One meal of cod also covers one day's recommended marine omega-3 intake.
Content of undesirable substances
Fillets and the liver of farmed cod have a low content of undesirable substances.
Under international regulations, Norway is committed to annually monitor the content of various pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins in farmed fish. One sample is taken per 100 tonnes of produced fish, and NIFES conducts the analyses on assignment for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.