Alex Mustard - The Elusive Cod


Most people think of cod as food, not wildlife. But of course they are wild animals and impressive beasties at that. They can grow as big as people, reaching almost two metres long and weigh almost 100kg. They are species that most people have heard of, but few could recognise. Which is why I have been pointing my lens at them recently.

Cod used to be abundant right across the North Atlantic Ocean, but we’ve hunted them in many areas to the point of ecological extinction. Iceland fought fiercely to protect its cod fisheries and through realistic quotas maintains a healthy population, so I travelled to the cold north coast in early spring to photograph them when they come inshore for spawning. There were many challenges, not least finding the fish. Cod may be big fish, but the ocean is a very big place. Fortunately we found them in the end. The conditions were tough too, one local warning me that once when filming cod he could not understand why his camera wouldn’t focus until he realised the ice crystals in the water were obscuring the view.

So not a creative photo, but a fascinating and important species.

Location: Husavik, Iceland

Tags: Alex Mustard, Atlantic Ocean, cod, Gadus morhua, Iceland, underwater

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