Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod – What’s The Difference?


There are a few different types of cod available. Selecting seafood at the market can be overwhelming at times. When deciding which one, a question often asked is, what is the difference between Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod?

Atlantic cod tastes a little sweeter than Pacific and the texture is firmer due to less moisture content. Atlantic cod provides a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals. The average Pacific cod is smaller, weighs less and doesn’t live as long as The Atlantic cod. Atlantic cod is more expensive than Pacific cod.

This article will examine all the differences between the two fish in detail. I’ll compare their tastes, textures, habitats, costs, mercury levels and benefits. In addition, a table comparing their nutrients side-by-side is included.

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Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod Nutrient Comparison

The table below lists the nutrients for Pacific cod vs Atlantic cod.

Nutrient Atlantic Cod, raw (4 Ounces) Pacific Cod, raw (4 Ounces)
Calories 93 78
Fat 0.8 g 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g 0.1 g
Cholesterol 49 mg 53 mg
Protein 20 g 17 g
Omega-3 0.22 g 0.15 g
B-6 0.2 mg 0.1 mg
B-12 1.0 mcg 2.2 mcg
Thiamin 0.08 mg 0.03 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg 0.05 mg
B5 0.1 mg 0.3 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.2 mg
Niacin 2.3 mg 1.2 mg
Folate 7.9 mcg 7.9 mcg
Potassium 468 mg 266 mg
Magnesium 36 mg 22 mg
Phosphorus 230 mg 318 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg 9.0 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.3 mg
Selenium 37.5 mcg 26.0 mcg

Nutrient Sources 1 2

Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. Pacific cod contains more of some nutrients while Atlantic cod contains more of others. What is healthier, Pacific cod or Atlantic cod?

Atlantic cod is healthier than Pacific cod due to its 50% more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, less cholesterol and more protein. Atlantic cod provides a greater percentage of vitamins and minerals than Pacific including B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium.

Pacific cod is no slouch either and contains a large number of nutrients as well. Pacific cod provides more B12, B5 and phosphorus than Atlantic. They both contain a similar number of folate.

How do these nutrients benefit health? The next section of this article explains how. I wrote an article which compared Atlantic Pollock to cod which has a different number of nutrients. Check out that article, Atlantic Pollock vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare.

Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod Health Benefits

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Atlantic cod contains 50% approximately more omega-3s than Pacific cod. Why does omega-3 fatty acids matter so much? Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep arteries healthy. One way they accomplish this is by keeping bad cholesterol low and good cholesterol high.

Two of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 3.

Also, they help keep the blood vessels healthy by reducing inflammation, plaque build-up, triglycerides and can help keep the heart rhythms more normal.

Many studies suggest omega-3s can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.

I recently wrote an article comparing blue cod to cod. If you’re interested in how many omega-3s blue cod contains or just want to learn about it, check out my article, Blue Cod Vs Cod – A Complete Comparison.

B Vitamins

Pacific cod and Atlantic cod contain many B vitamins. These include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). B vitamins help support the following:

  • Digestion
  • Red blood cells
  • Brain function
  • Energy levels
  • Nerve function
  • Cardiovascular health

Magnesium

Atlantic cod and Pacific cod provide magnesium 4. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep related issues like insomnia. Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels 5.

More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 6.

Selenium

Cod contains good amounts of selenium. Studies 7 show selenium may help to protect the following:

  • Immune system
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive issues
  • Thyroid health

Calcium

Atlantic cod provides 100% more calcium than Pacific. Like magnesium, calcium is important for blood pressure and the heart.

Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 8.

Potassium

Atlantic cod contains almost 500 mg of potassium while Pacific cod has 266 mg. Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 9. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.

Seafood is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.

If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.

Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod: Tastes and Textures

Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod Tastes

The way a fish taste plays a huge decision when deciding between two fish to eat. Therefore, what’s the difference between the taste of Pacific cod and Atlantic cod?

Pacific cod is more mild tasting than Atlantic cod. Atlantic cod’s taste is a little sweeter. 

Atlantic cod has a mild, non-fishy taste. It’s good for people who dislike a fishy taste and is slightly more sweeter than Pacific cod.

Pacific cod has a mild, non-fishy taste. It also has a mild to sweet flavor. Cod is good for people who want to avoid a fishy tasting seafood or strong taste.

The difference between the tastes of Atlantic cod and Pacific cod are not large, and most people wouldn’t consider them to be much different. A side-by-side taste test may be necessary to pick out the difference.

Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod Textures

What’s the difference between Pacific cod and Atlantic cod’s textures?

Atlantic cod is a little more firmer than Pacific cod due to its lower moisture content. Pacific cod’s large flakes may come apart easier than Atlantic cod’s large flakes due to its higher moisture content. 

A properly cooked cod is flaky, firm and moist. The Pacific cods have more moisture to them than Atlantic cods. Both cod fillets have large flakes and are thicker than many others.

Atlantic Cod and Pacific Cod Substitutes

Sometimes you won’t have the exact fish in your refrigerator or freezer for a recipe. Sometimes the seafood section of the supermarket doesn’t have the cod you need. Therefore, can you substitute Pacific cod for Atlantic cod?

Pacific cod can substitute for Atlantic cod due to their similar mild to sweet tastes although the textures are sightly different. They both can be cooked using the same methods like frying, baking, broiling, steaming or poaching.

Is Atlantic cod a good substitute for Pacific cod? 

Atlantic cod is a good substitute for Pacific cod due to their similar mild tastes. Atlantic cod can be used for many of the same cooking methods as Pacific cod like frying, poaching, broiling and baking. Atlantic cod is better for grilling due to its firmer texture.

What is a good substitute for cod? Good substitutes for Pacific or Atlantic cod include:

  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Striped bass
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi mahi

Tastes matters more than texture when substituting but you may choose a certain fish if a certain cooking method has to be used.

When substituting Atlantic cod or Pacific cod always stick to the following:

  • Same size and weight.
  • Stick with similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
  • Stick with skinless or skin when the recipe calls for one.
  • Texture is more important for certain cooking methods. Like using a firmer texture when grilling 10.

Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod Mercury Levels

The FDA and the EPA have warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often to consume them 11. This is especially important for pregnant women, breastfeeding or for young toddlers and infants.

They established a list of best choices, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Therefore does Pacific Cod or Atlantic cod have more mercury?

Pacific cod and Atlantic cod contain similar mercury levels. They are listed on the FDA’s best choices in regards to mercury levels. The FDA recommends consuming either cod no more than two servings a week.

Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods, changing your dietary habits and how often to consume certain fish.

Pacific Cod vs Atlantic Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance

What is the difference between cod and Alaska Pollock?

Atlantic cod and Pacific cod are both from the Gadidae family and are different species. Atlantic cod is a longer fish and weighs more than Pacific cod. Pacific cod is darker with small spots while Atlantic has speckled spots. Pacific cod is found in the North Pacific Ocean and Atlantic cod in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic cod is sometimes used as scrod. If you’re interested in learning about scrod, check out my article about it, Scrod vs Cod: There’s More To The Story.

Scientific Classifications, Families, Species

  • Pacific Cod is from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and species is macrocephalus.
  • Atlantic Cod is from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and species is morhua.

Habitats

  • Pacific cod is found in the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to California in the east and to the Sea of Japan in the west.
  • Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine.

Colors

  • Atlantic cod is brownish, greenish to light yellowish with small, dark spots and a light lateral line running down the body.
  • Pacific cod is brownish or grayish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.

Appearance

  • Atlantic cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.
  • Pacific cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.

Size and Weight

  • Atlantic cod average 27-42″ in length and weighs 6-26 pounds depending if they are near shore or off shore.
  • Pacific cod average 25-30″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.

Age

  • Atlantic cod lives up to 20 years or more.
  • Pacific cod lives 20 years or less.

Species sources 12 13 14 15 16 17

The Cost of Pacific Cod and Atlantic Cod

The cost of either Pacific cod or Atlantic cod will differ depending on the location, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught. Which is more expensive, Atlantic cod or pacific cod?

Atlantic Cod cost more than Pacific cod. The average cost for wild caught Atlantic cod is $13.99 per pound while the average cost for wild caught Pacific cod is $8.99 per pound.

The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked Freshdirect online for the current prices of cod.

  • Fresh, wild caught Atlantic cod
    • $16.99 per pound

I checked the local Shopright supermarket, in store and online, and found the following prices for cod.

  • Fresh wild caught Alaska cod fillet
    • $8.99 per pound
  • Fresh wild North Atlantic cod fillet
    • $13.99 per pound

Would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? To save money on fresh seafood check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.

Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Alaska Pollock Vs Cod: A Comparison – Which Is Better?

Cod Vs Tilapia – A Complete Comparison

Haddock vs Cod: Is One Better? A Complete Comparison

Flounder vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare

Halibut vs Cod: The Differences In Detail

Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Pacific, cod[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  4. Nutrition Value: Cod, raw[]
  5. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  7. National Institutes of Health: Selenium[]
  8. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  9. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  10. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  11. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  12. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod[]
  13. Mass.gov: Learn about Atlantic cod[]
  14. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Cod[]
  15. NOAA Fisheries: Pacific Cod[]
  16. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  17. Wikipedia: Pacific cod[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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