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Profile updated on 24 February 2024
cod, gray cod, P-cod, codfish
Pacific cod in the eastern North Pacific are distributed from the Pacific Rim and southward to Southern California (Gustafson et al. 2000). Pacific cod belonging to this “North American” stock group (Grant et al. 1987) have been understood to be more genetically homogeneous relative to their western North Pacific counterpart, known as the “Asian” stock group. New findings from the low coverage whole genome sequencing (lcWGS) data documented that the majority of samples from the EBS were genetically more similar to the Aleutian Islands and Western Gulf of Alaska samples, providing further support for the Aleutian Island management unit (Barbeaux et al. 2022).
Beginning in 2013, these two stocks have been assessed independently, and as of 2014 Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) are no longer managed as a single unit (Thompson et al. 2021). As such, there are now two unique FishSource profiles dedicated to these units; the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod profile can be found here. There is an additional Alaskan profile group for Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska. There are also commercially managed fisheries in Canada in Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound, and the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Overall, genomic evidence shows a distinct northern Bering Sea type, a distinct eastern Gulf of Alaska type, and a mixed eastern Bering Sea / western Gulf of Alaska stock. These findings indicate opportunities to potentially restructure management units for Pacific cod in those regions (Barbeaux et al., 2023).