is well suited for human consumption. The lean flesh is rich in proteins
and has a low fat content. It can easily be preserved as dried or salted.
Cod was probably a favorite dish ever since people inhabited northern Europe
and learned to fish. Cod remains (earstones) have been found among other
food trash in a stone-age settlement on Gotland Island in the Baltic. The
settlement was dated to 3000 years BC.
it was not until the Viking era (1000 AC) that cod became an important
economic commodity. At this time Norwegians used dried cod during their
extensive travels to Iceland and Greenland. Cod are caught with hook and
lines or simple longlines. Norwegian kings tried to benefit from the large
cod resources by taxes and other regulations on the cod trade. By the
end of the 14th century these trading licenses were granted to the Hanseatic
League. The league was a loosely organized economic union between German
and Baltic cities. A trade center for fur, timber and fish was established
in the Bergen city. Dried and salted cod from Iceland and northern Norway
was shipped to Bergen and further distributed to northern Europe. One
hundred years later English merchants had established their own trade
for cod from Iceland and Greenland without the consent of the Hanseatic
League or from the Danish-Norwegian kings. The result became the first
known cod wars, which ended with a Danish victory and monopoly on the
cod trade. This monopoly remained until the eighteen century and forced
the English, the French and the Basques to explore and exploit the vast
cod resources along Newfoundland in the western Atlantic.
The EU commission
has recognized the significance of firm management action to restore these
The progress of the new Common Fishery Policy for the EU can be found at http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/reform/index_en.htm
Total landings of cod from the East Atlantic from 1975 to 2000 according to the International Council for the exploration of sea. The landings fron EU member countries (year 2000) are indicated in blue.
Maximum spawning stock size of 11 cod stocks in the East Atlantic from 1970 to 2000. The stock size for the year 2000 is indicated in yellow
Brief film showing the decline in cod stock size by age in the Kattegat cod stock. Each symbol (cod image) represent 1 million fishes. Numbers are displayed vertically. There 6 age groups (age 1 to 6) displayed (if present) horizontally. Smaller symbols reprent older cod. The film is an effort to visualize the serious decline in the Kattegat cod stock. (The video size is aroud 6 Mo . It could take time to load it...)