The Pacific Cod is an important commercial food species. Pacific Cod are fast growing fish and reach an average length of 19 cm in 1 year. By 12 years they may exceed 89 cm. The stocks are generally exploited from age 3 onwards. Molecular genetic analyses strongly suggest that Pacific Cod and Greenland Cod from Greenland–the Arctic ocean are the same species; G. ogac is then a junior synonym of G. macrocephalus.
Pacific Cod are also known as gray cod because of their color—they’re brown or grayish with dark spots or patterns on the sides and a paler belly. They have a long chin barbell (a whisker-like organ near the mouth, like on a catfish) and dusky fins with white edges. They have three separate dorsal fins, and the catfish-like whiskers on its lower jaw. In appearance, it is similar to the Atlantic Cod. May grow up to 1 m (39") and weigh up to 15 kg (33 lbs).
The Pacific Cod fishery is the second largest fishery in Alaskan waters. There are several gear types that are used in the Alaskan and Canadian fishery, each with their own habitat effects. Hook and line, or jigging are deemed the least damaging of the gear types used, while traps, pots, and bottom longline all have varying degrees of bycatch levels and/or habitat effects. The gear used for trawling includes many different types of bottom trawls, most typically having a headrope to footrope vertical distance rise of 2 to 5 fathoms. The offshore fishery is also prosecuted by non-pelagic bottom trawls. Pots used in a directed cod fishery are modified crab pots, which are constructed with a steel bar frame and covered with tarred nylon mesh netting. Pot sizes range from 6 to 8 foot(2-3m) diameter square, with the average vessel using 6 by 6 foot(2x2m) pots. Each pot has two or three tunnel openings on opposite sides, with plastic finger funnels to retain the fish. The tunnel eye cannot be greater than 9 inches(23cm) in any one dimension. An escape panel of untreated cotton must be sewn into the mesh.
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 (~ 3000 feet).