Due to poor or unknown population status and ineffective management, Pacific cod imported from Japan and the Russian Federation gets an "Avoid" ranking.
Alaska Cod, Gray Cod, True Cod
Pacific cod is found throughout the North Pacific and its bordering waters.
The U.S. has its own Pacific cod fishery, and also imports product from Japan and the Russian Federation. These fisheries use bottom longlines, bottom-set gillnets (which have high bycatch), bottom seines and bottom trawls (which cause severe seafloor habitat damage and result in bycatch).
Management in these fisheries is ineffective, as indicated by the lack of population data. The only known assessment is for a single population in Japan and the data suggest that it has been overfished in the past and that overfishing is likely occurring.
In addition to the missing population assessments, the Japanese fishery has failed to implement bycatch reduction measures.
In the Russian Federation, a general lack of management combined with documented illegal fishing results in Russian management being a serious conservation concern.
At this time, consumers should "Avoid" Pacific cod imported from Japan and the Russian Federation. Look for U.S.-caught as a "Best Choice."