Lingcod

Common name:

Lingcod

Scientific name:

Ophiodon elongatus

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Sourcing Summary

10-15 lbs.

The highest quality lingcod is caught by hook-and-line gear and when the fish is bled and put on ice immediately. Most lingcod is caught as bycatch in other fisheries, but there are some targeted fisheries, namely Southeast Alaska. Raw lingcod flesh can have a blue-green tint, this is perfectly normal, and when cooked it turns a snow white color. Look for a grayish flesh color and/or blood spots to signal mishandling and dull eyes and faded gills on whole lingcod indicate a lack of freshness.

Harvest Methods

Wild

Troll
Trawl
Pole
Longline
Jig
Handline
Bottom Trawl
Bottom Trawl
Bottom Longline
Bottom Longline

Product Forms

Fresh

  • Fillet (skinless, boneless)
  • H&G
  • Steaks

Frozen

  • Fillet (skinless, boneless)
  • H&G
  • Steaks
Fresh Seasonal Availability
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Culinary Composition

Flavor

Mild
Sweet
Strong

Texture

Delicate
Medium
Firm

Oil

Low
Medium
High

Health & Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving size: 100 Grams
Amount per serving
  • Calories
    128.00
  • Total Fat
    3.71
    g
  • Cholesterol
    66.00
    mg
  • Sodium
    402.00
    mg
  • Carbohydrates
    0.00
    g
  • Protein
    22.00
    g
  • Omega-3
    281.00
    mg

Recommended Servings per Month

Cooking Methods

Advisory Concern

Biology

Lingcod grow quickly and can reach lengths of five feet weighing 80lbs. Lingcod can live up to 20 years with males reaching maturity around age 2 (20" long) and females age 3 (30" long). The spawing process of lingcod involves males claiming suitable territory for nesting, females making only a brief appearance to lay eggs, and males guarding the nests until they hatch in 8-10 weeks. As lingcod develop they move from eating zooplankton as larvae, shellfish  as small juveniles, small finfish (such as herring) as large juveniles, until they become aggressive predators as adults feeding on bottom dwelling fish and shellfish. Larval and juvenile lingcod are important food sources for salmon and rockfish, while marine mammals and sharks rely on large juvenile and adult lingcod as food sources.  

Species Habitat

Lingcod are found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean from northern Baja California to Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but they are most abundant between Washington and British Columbia. Adult lingcod prefer rocky bottoms at depths of 30-300 feet with males showing very little movement from where they were born and females migrating seasonally to spawn.

Science & Management:
  • Wild
    Science: 

    There are currently no population estimates of lingcod in Alaska and the populations along the U.S.West Coast are estimated from analyzing data from resource surveys and fishery monitoring.

    Management: 

    The State of Alaska manages the lingcod fishery in both state and federal waters of Alaska. To protect this species from overharvest, lingcod fisheries in Alaska are conservatively managed to ensure enough fish are left to reproduce and replenish the population. Management measures:

    • Close the fishery during spawning and nesting seasons to protect spawning female lingcod and nest-guarding male lingcod.
    • Limit the minimum size of fish that can be caught to protect immature fish from being harvested and allow fish to spawn at least once before being subject to harvest.
    • Restrict catch through catch and bycatch quotas.

    Current management of lingcod on the West Coast is covered under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan:

    • Limit on the minimum size of fish that can be harvested.
    • Limit on how much lingcod can be harvested in a fishing trip
    • Certain seasons and areas are closed to fishing.
    • Gear restrictions to reduce bycatch and impacts on habitat.

    Since January 2011, the West Coast groundfish trawl fishery has been managed under a trawl rationalization catch share program. Managers establish annual catch limits based on the health of each fish stock and then allocate a share of this catch limit to individual fishermen or groups of fishermen. Fishermen can decide how and when to catch their share – preferably when weather, markets, and business conditions are most favorable, allowing the fishery the flexibility to be more environmentally responsible, safer, more efficient, and more valuable. The goal is to allow fishermen to catch more of the healthy target stocks (such as lingcod) without increasing their harvest of overfished stocks.

  • Wild
Wild

Impact on Stock

Lingcod is actually a bottom-dwelling Pacific greenling harvested from Alaska to California with the most concentrated around British Columbia and Washington. They grow quickly, the females are fairly fertile and the males guard nests until the eggs hatch although many animals eat the eggs. Seafood Watch reports from 2014 give lingcod a medium inherent vulnerability score overall. In 1999 lingcod was declared overfished but several years of strict catch limits helped the fishery get rebuilt ahead of schedule in 2005. Assessments from 2009 showed the stock to be well over target levels, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.

Habitat Impacts

Lingcod are mainly caught by bottom trawls and handlines in the groundfish fishery. They can get accidentally caught by the bottom longline and salmon troll fisheries, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service reported. Bottom trawlers can have a significant impact on the ocean habitat but restrictions in place limit the use of this gear, somewhat mitigating the effect, according to 2014 Seafood Watch reports for the U.S. West Coast and British Columbia.

Bycatch

Although bycatch used to be an issue in the lingcod fisheries, bycatch went down 75% following the implementation of a management plan on the U.S. West Coast in 2011, the Environmental Defense Fund noted. Improved gear has also helped trawlers targeting lingcod avoid bycatch hotspots. There are generally few true “bycatch” species caught in substantial amounts in the groundfish fisheries, Seafood Watch reports from 2014 noted.

Management Effectiveness

In Alaska, lingcod is managed by the Department of Fish and Game. The lingcod fisheries are managed with other groundfish by the NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council on the U.S. West Coast, and by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in British Columbia. The catch-share management plan implemented in 2011 on the U.S. West Coast has been credited with bringing down bycatch numbers in the fishery. Management measures include gear and catch restrictions, minimum size limits, and seasonal closures. Seafood Watch found that the West Coast and Canadian lingcod management regimes had strong aspects. However, a 2014 report noted challenges with management strategy, implementation, and recovery of stocks of concern in British Columbia.

Farmed
Origin Harvest Method Sustainability Ratings
Canada - British Columbia Midwater Trawl
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Canada - British Columbia Bottom Trawls
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Not Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Canada - British Columbia, Inside Troll
Seafood Watch- Best Choice
Ocean Wise- Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Canada - British Columbia, Outside Troll
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Canada - British Columbia, Outside Bottom Longline
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Canada - British Columbia, Outside Jig
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Unassessed Origin Unassessed Fishing Methods
Seafood Watch- Unrated
Ocean Wise- Unrated
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - Alaska - Gulf of Alaska Set Longlines
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Not Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - Alaska - Gulf of Alaska Jig
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Not Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - Alaska - Gulf of Alaska Trolling Lines
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Not Recommended
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - West Coast Unassessed Fishing Methods
Seafood Watch- Unrated
Ocean Wise- Unrated
NOAA FSSI- 4 out of 4
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - West Coast Bottom Longline
Seafood Watch- Best Choice
Ocean Wise- Recommended
NOAA FSSI- 4 out of 4
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - West Coast Bottom Trawls
Seafood Watch- Best Choice
Ocean Wise- Recommended
NOAA FSSI- 4 out of 4
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
USA - West Coast Handlines and Hand-Operated Pole-and-Lines
Seafood Watch- Good Alternative
Ocean Wise- Recommended
NOAA FSSI- 4 out of 4
Good Fish Guide - Unrated
Name Country State/Province
A&R Seafood Company United States California
Alaskans Own Seafood United States Alaska
Aqualine Seafoods Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Barlean's Fishery, Inc. United States Washington
Blundell Seafoods Canada British Columbia
Bornstein Seafoods Inc. United States Oregon
Canadian Fishing Company Canada British Columbia
Central California Seafood Marketing Association United States California
Clipper Ship, Inc. United States Washington
Community Supported Fishery United States Oregon
Daily Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Empire Fish Company United States Wisconsin
Export Packers Company Limited Canada Ontario
FishPeople Seafood United States Oregon
Flying Fish Company United States Oregon
Foods In Season United States Washington
Fort Bragg Groundfish Association United States California
FreshCatch United States California
Hallmark Fisheries, Inc. United States Oregon
Intercity Packers Meat & Seafood Canada British Columbia
International Seafoods of Alaska, Inc. United States Alaska
Kelly's Fresh Fish United States Washington
Lee Fish USA United States California
Lusamerica Foods, Inc. United States California
Macgregors Meat & Seafood Ltd. Canada Ontario
Monterey Fish Market United States California
Morning Star Fisheries LLC United States California
Northeast Seafood Products, Inc. United States Colorado
Northwest Fresh Seafood Company United States Oregon
OM Seafood Company United States Oregon
Organic Ocean Seafood Inc. Canada British Columbia
Pacific Harvest Seafood, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Harvest Seafoods United States California
Pacific Seafood Group, Inc. United States Oregon
Pike Place Fish Market United States Washington
Pioneer Seafoods United States California
Port Orford Sustainable Seafood United States Oregon
Real Good Fish United States California
Royal Hawaiian Seafood United States California
Sea Forager Seafood United States California
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Canada Ontario
Seafood4life Products Inc. Canada British Columbia
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company - Kansas City United States Missouri
Shrimp-Prawns - Cooked & Peeled - 16/20 count
Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery Canada British Columbia
South Bay Wild, Inc. United States California
Stikine Seafoods United States Alaska
Tri-Star Seafood Supply Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics United States Washington
Willowfield Enterprises Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Worldwide Seafoods (1997) Ltd. Canada British Columbia

Acknowledgements

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Marine Stewardship Council
  • NOAA Fisheries
  • Seafood Watch Program
  • SeafoodSource
Last Updated: 8/7/2020