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Atlantic cod is found throughout the temperate and sub-Arctic waters of the North Atlantic. Although it is a single species throughout this distribution, it comprises a multitude of populations that show a varying degree of intermixing. The cod around Iceland are more or less isolated from neighbouring cod stocks by the deep water of the Denmark Strait to the west, the Faroe–Iceland channel to the south-east and the Norwegian Sea in the east. 

In terms of weight of fish landed in Iceland, cod is the third most important species. Cod are found throughout the Icelandic waters, mostly at depths less than 200m but extending down to 500m in some areas. 

The Iceland Sustainable Fisheries (ISF) group includes a range of vessels that catch cod. Around half is caught by trawlers. These range from relatively small vessels operating closer to shore to large factory freezer trawlers that fillet the fish at sea, and freeze the fillets, heads and carcasses. Other fishing methods include longline, Danish seine, gillnet and handline.

Visir, one of the companies under the ISF certificate, supplied salted cod to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Read the Visir Icelandic cod story > 

Image © James Morgan/MSC