Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

tomcod Microgadus tomcod, a close relation of the cod but much smaller (maximum length 40 cm/15") and found only in the NW Atlantic, from Labrador down to Virginia. It may be distinguished from codling (young cod) by the long filaments of the ventral fins and the more rounded tail fin. Colour varies, but is usually olive-brown above with green or yellow tinges and darker mottling.

The tomcod frequents coastal waters and estuaries. An unusual winter fishery for it, through holes cut in the ice, has traditionally been carried out in the St Lawrence River. Brightly painted fishing cabins are erected on the ice and furnished with heating for the fishermen as they work their holes.