Whitefish (fisheries term)

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White fish (Atlantic cod)
White fish fillet (halibut – on top) contrasted with an oily fish fillet (salmon – at bottom)

Whitefish or white fish is a fisheries term for several species of demersal fish with fins, particularly Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), whiting (Merluccius bilinearis), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), hake (Urophycis), pollock (Pollachius), and others. Whitefish (Coregonidae) is also the name of several species of Atlantic freshwater fish.

Whitefish live on or near the seafloor, and can be contrasted with the oily or pelagic fish which live in the water column away from the seafloor. Unlike oily fish, whitefish contain oils only in their liver, rather than in their gut, and can therefore be gutted as soon as they are caught, on board the ship[citation needed]. Whitefish have dry and white flesh.

Whitefish can be divided into benthopelagic fish (round fish which live near the sea bed, such as cod and coley) and benthic fish (which live on the sea bed, such as flatfish like plaice).

Whitefish is sometimes eaten straight but is often used reconstituted for fishsticks, gefilte fish, lutefisk, surimi (imitation crabmeat), etc. For centuries it was preserved by drying as stockfish and clipfish and traded as a world commodity.[1] It is commonly used as the fish in the classic British dish of fish and chips.

Nutritional information[edit]

1 fillet of whitefish, mixed species (198g) contains the following nutritional information according to the United States Department of Agriculture:[2]

  • Calories: 265
  • Fat(g): 11.60
  • Carbohydrates(g): 0
  • Fibers(g): 0
  • Protein(g): 37.80
  • Cholesterol(mg): 119


  1. ^ Kurlansky, Mark (1997). Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Walker. ISBN 0-8027-1326-2.
  2. ^ "Welcome to the USDA Food Composition Database". ndb.nal.usda.gov. Retrieved 2018-04-13.

See also[edit]