Codling Fish is a term for the juvenile fish that live in the plankton. The best way to describe Codling Fish is to think about them as the runts of the batch or a cast-off from their older siblings.
They only last for a few months before they die, but during this time, they grow very quickly and are abundant enough to reach high concentrations in many areas of our oceans.
Codlings also provide food for other species and help make our oceans lush and rich. They help prevent algae outbreaks.
They also provide important nutrition to marine animals by providing nourishment in times of low volume.
They also break down organic matter, thus decreasing the number of nutrients that can be washed into estuaries and oceans by heavy rains.
Codlings are often abundant enough to be targeted by commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries worldwide. Still, they have not been treated as valuable resources, unlike most commercially valuable fish species.
Codling Fish Characteristics
1. Codlings are small and very sensitive to environmental changes.
2. Codlings are very mobile, darting around in the water column to feed on plankton and from one area to another in search of food.
3. Codlings travel by what is known as a swimming belt. This detects where nutrients and plankton are the most available for the fish and keeps it within those foods for more efficient digestion.
4. The brightest and often the most colorful Codlings tend to have a different morphology from the other juveniles. They then typically have small eyes and very short fins; however, they grow many more fins later in their lifespan.
5. Codlings exhibit a high level of behavioral plasticity and can change their coloration, intensity of coloration, and patterning according to their surroundings.
6. Codlings are extremely susceptible to being eaten by predators, especially from other fish, crustaceans, and echinoderms.
7. Codlings will often collect in large schools, with many of them swimming in a common direction.
The Appearance of Codling Fish
These are small fish with a short life span. They are generally around 2 inches in length and inhabit the plankton.
Their bodies can be shaped like a cylindrical prism or a flattened cone, depending on the fish species. They have an underdeveloped head, and their body color is usually white compared to their adult counterparts.
The structure of codling includes a dorsal fin that extends backward for two-thirds of its length. The caudal fin is located at the posterior end of the dorsal fin and extends towards the tail.
The body is elongated and narrows towards the end, with a pointed snout. The anal fin is present on the other side of the fish, and it extends down to about half the length of its body. The pectoral fins extend backward from beneath its eyes along its sides.
Breeding of Codling Fish
These fish breed during the Spring and Summer months. They have an external fertilization system with vitellogenesis and internal fertilization.
The eggs are also called codling or cling pea spawn. These eggs are spherical, and they float on the water surface when they are in a single layer.
This is a special type of egg with a very strong flotation capacity, thereby allowing them to float on the water surface for days.
Cod: A Highly Commercially Valuable Fish
The adult codling fish do not get to be too big, often only weighing around 5 pounds. The skin color of these fish usually ranges from silver-grey to brownish color, and they have a dark spot on their side that looks almost like a freckle.
There are many different varieties of this fish, and they are usually caught using baited hooks, either by line fishing or by trawling them up. They are also fished in the ocean for bait for other bigger fish.
Codlings – A Valuable Resource or a Waste Product?
Scientists and fishery experts within the industry that catch, sell and try to preserve these fish are constantly on the lookout for new solutions to keep them healthy and make sure that they
are either used or eaten before they die off from old age. They are inherently too small and too delicate to be used as broodstock in an aquaculture farm.
Maximum Size of Codlings
The maximum length and weight of the codling fish are around 4 inches in length and 4 ounces in weight.
The FishBase website claims that this is usually the largest size they are ever seen, but there are some rare exceptions where they are bigger.
Techniques and Methods to Catch Cod
The most common methods used to catch the fish are either by hand or by fishing nets.
1) Hand Picking
The handpicking method normally involves a person walking along a beach, picking and shaking the water to trap any fish that have escaped the net or hook.
This method is only recommended when there are many codlings present in numbers that do not allow them to escape easily by swimming around.
2) Fishing Nets
When fishing for codling fish with a net, the most common method used is trawling. This involves the net being towed along behind a boat, by which the codlings get trapped in the mesh of
the net. Codling fish are often caught through this method when swimming in schools, as they are highly susceptible to being caught in this manner.
3) Air Trawling
Most of the fishing nets used to catch codling fish are long and narrow types. Codlings are often caught by this method when swimming alone, which is why they are called solitary fish.
The fishing net is fully out of the water as it is towed along behind the boat. The codling swims into the mesh of the net, but as it cannot escape, it drowns within a fraction of a second.
4) Other Methods
Other common methods of catching codling fish are dragging a net along the ocean floor or using fish traps.
Codlings as Food
Most people do not tend to eat codling fish because of their size; however, they are usually considered a great delicacy for those who do.
There are many different ways these fish can be prepared and eaten, especially when they have been smoked or dried out.
The benefit of Codling Fish
Here are the Best 10 benefits of Codling Fish
1. These fish have little fat, making them healthier to eat than many other kinds of fish.
2. They are rich in protein and a good source of vitamins B6 and B12 and selenium, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids.
3. The fat composition of these fish is also very important since it has been found to help lessen the risk of coronary artery disease and strokes in adults over 40 years old.
4. These fish are also rich in niacin and calcium.
5. They are an excellent source of alternatives for people who have problems digesting milk proteins and casein found in cow’s milk.
6. These fish are high in trace minerals such as copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
7. Codfish also contain vitamin B12, which is very important for those who suffer from anemia.
8. They can help improve the appearance of inflamed skin and have anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Codlings are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the unsaturated type of essential fatty acids that the body needs to function properly.
10. This fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It also helps prevent heart disease, swelling, inflammation, and arthritis.
Codling fish is an excellent protein source for those looking for a lean meat source lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. They can be used as a substitute for red meat and an alternative food source to soybeans.
These fish are also rich in iron, calcium, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, E, and B12. They have very little cholesterol and have twice the protein level compared to chicken or beef.