Wildlife: Fish: Coalfish



Category: Fish
Phylum: Chordata
Class:  Osteichthyes
Order:  Gadiformes
Family:  Gadidae
Species: Gadus virens

The Coalfish is a marine food fish of European waters, a close relative of the cod. It grows up to a length of about 1 yard (1 m) and has a silvery-dark body with 3 dorsal fins and 2 anal fins. The pelvic fins are just behind the gill covers. Like the cod, the Coalfish has a short barbel, or feeler, on the lower lip.

The main spawning grounds of the coalfish are the Norwegian and British coasts, although the full range of the coalfish extends from the Arctic to the Mediterranean.

Schools of coalfish are inclined to feed on the fry of their larger relative the cod, but Coalfish also eat many other kinds of small fish and shellfish. The coalfish also has other names. In Europe it was once known as the saithe. In the United States it is called the pollack.