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Cod - Arctic Wanderers

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Every SKREI is a cod, but not every cod is SKREI

A sea-fishing nation since time immemorial, Norwegians know many species cod, including Kysttorsk (coastal cod) or nordsjotorsk (North Sea cod), but it is the 'norsk-arktiske torsk' (Arctic cod) that deserves our special attention.

Arctic cod are the largest and the most important cod species in Norway. Its name in Norwegian – SKREI – derives from the old word 'skrida', 'to wander or to walk'. Cod-the-wanderer owes its name to the gruelling trip the fish undertake every year.

Arctic cod reach sexual maturity around 6 years old and, driven by the instinct that ensures the survival of the species but leads to many of the cod perishing, set off on a 600 kilometre perilous trip from the cold Arctic waters where they feed to their spawning grounds in milder climates. The vast majority of SKREI set course for the Lofoten. The SKREI spawn in the wide Vestfjord between the mainland and the Lofoten, protected by the islands from the harsh weather of the Norwegian Sea.

Each female SKREI lays millions of eggs, but only a few develop into young fish and even fewer survive the journey north and east to the feeding grounds, aided by the warm Gulf Stream and made a little easier if the spawning coincides with the spring plankton boom.
This migration, globally unique, can be admired every year from mid-February to the end of April.

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