Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua – Þorskur)
Cod is “the fish” in Iceland. It is by far the most important marine resource in Icelandic waters. Its economic importance has only briefly been surpassed by herring in the 20th century and possibly Greenland shark in the 19th. The cod is also a large, fecund, greedy and rather fast growing fish and therefore has great impact on other marine species in Icelandic waters. The cod can grow quite large; the largest individual measured in Icelandic waters was 186 cm long and 17 years old. Common size in catches is much smaller, or in the range of 45 to 85 cm long in most fishing gear. This corresponds to roughly 4 to 7 year old and 1 to 4 kg fish.
Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus – Ýsa)
The haddock is a rather large codfish, usual size in catches is between 50 and 65 cm long, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured 112 cm. It is found in abundance all around Iceland. During cold periods it is rather rare in the colder waters off the north coast, but in warmer periods it can be more common in the north than in the south. Mostly it occurs over soft bottoms at depths between 10 and 200 m.
Saithe (Pollachius virens – Ufsi)
The saithe is a large codfish, usually between 70 and 110 cm long in catches, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured 132 cm. It is found all around Iceland, but is rarer in the colder waters to the north and east of the country. The saithe can be described as benthopelagic fish, i.e., it occurs both close to the bottom and in the water column. It has a streamlined shape and is consequently a very good swimmer. It can swim rapidly all over the Icelandic continental shelf and individuals tagged in Icelandic waters have often been fished along mainland Europe.
Catfish (Anarhichas lupus – Steinbítur)
The catfish is a large sized, rather long fish, usually around 50 to 60 cm long, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured at 125 cm. It is found all around Iceland, but is most common off Vestfirdir (West Fjords) peninsula in the west. It mostly occurs on mud or sand bottoms at depths between 40 to 200 m.
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa – Skarkoli)
Plaice is a medium sized flatfish. It has a smooth skin as opposed to, for example, dab and long rough dab. It is easily recognized by the red or orange spots on the otherwise dark back, the underside is white. The maximum recorded size in Icelandic waters is 85 cm, but the usual size in catches is from 30 to 50 cm.Plaice is common all around Iceland from the seashore to 200 m depth, on sandy or muddy bottoms.
Golden Redfish (Sebastes marinus – Karfi)
The golden redfish is one of the most common and commercially important fish in Icelandic waters. It is commonly from 35 to 40 cm long in catches, but exceptionally large individuals of up to 100 cm and 15 kg have been measured. These huge individuals are often called centennial redfishes as they are probably very old. It is however possible that these very large redfishes belong to a different stock, or even species, than the common golden redfish.
Lemon sole (Microstomus kitt – Sólkoli)
The lemon sole is a medium sized rather thickset flatfish, usually around 30 cm long, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured at 63 cm. It is found all around Iceland, but is much rarer in the colder waters north and east of the country. Mostly it occurs on rocky or sandy bottoms at depths between 50 to 350m.
Blue ling – (Molva dipterygia – Blálanga)
The blue ling is a medium to large sized, very long and slender codfish. Usual size in catches is 70 to 110 cm, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured 153 cm. It is found all around Iceland, but is much rarer in the colder waters north and east of the country. It is primarily a deep water fish, found in the depth range of 130 to 1500 m but mostly at a depth of between 300 and 800 m.
Ling (Molva molva – Langa)
The Ling can reach a very large size, the largest on records was 212 cm long. It occurs all around the country but is very rare in the colder waters north and east of Iceland. It is found over a wide depth range, spanning from 15 to 1000 m depth.
Tusk – (Brosme brosme – Keila)
The tusk is a medium to large sized codfish, usually between 40 to 90 cm long, but the largest individual caught in Icelandic waters measured 120 cm.