Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Gadiformes
(Cods) > Merlucciidae
Etymology: Merluccius: Latin, mar, maris = the sea + Latin, lucius = pike (Ref. 45335). More on author: Mitchill.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 55 - 914 m (Ref. 58452). Temperate; 55°N - 24°N, 80°W - 42°W (Ref. 54581)
Northwest Atlantic: coast of Canada and USA from Bell Isle Channel to the Bahamas; most common from southern Newfoundland to South Carolina.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 23.2  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 76.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1371); common length : 37.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1371); common length :65 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 2.3 kg (Ref. 1371); max. reported age: 12 years (Ref. 1371)
Abundant on sandy grounds and strays into shallower waters. A voracious predator with cannibalistic habits. Individuals over 40 cm TL prey on fishes such as gadoids and herring, while smaller ones feed on crustaceans, i.e. euphausiids and pandalids; food also includes gaspereau, myctophids, smelt, silversides, mackerel, sand lance, butterfish, snakeblennies, longhorn sculpins and squids (Ref. 5951). The smallest specimen feeds mostly on crustaceans (Ref. 58452). Exhibits seasonal onshore-offshore migration (Ref. 9988). Spawning takes place from June-July in the mid-Atlantic region; July-August in the Gulf of Maine and to the north of Georges Bank, and August-September on the Scotian Shelf (Ref. 58452). Marketed fresh, smoked and frozen; fresh fish are exported to European markets; eaten fried, broiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988).
Spawning appears to be strongly influenced by water temperature, and annual variations occur both in the peak and the range of the spawning period, which may influence considerably the growth of juveniles.
Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba, 1990. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 p. (Ref. 1371)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: highly commercial
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 0.9 - 7.8, mean 4.9 °C (based on 155 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00537 (0.00354 - 0.00815), b=3.13 (3.00 - 3.26), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.4 se; based on diet studies.
Generation time: 3.4 (2.7 - 4.3) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 10 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.18-0.4;tm=2-3; tmax=12).
Prior r = 0.37, 95% CL = 0.25 - 0.56, Based on 2 stock assessments.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (54 of 100) .