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Coal fish


maximum 1.30 meter


maximum 32 kilograms


back dark green, flanks dull silver gray


maximum 25 year


fish, crustceans, squid and brittle stars


lays eggs

  • Dut: Koolvis (groene schelvis, zwarte koolvis)
  • Lat: Pollachius virens
  • Eng: Saithe (coal fish)
  • Ger: Köhler, Seelachs
  • Fren: Lieu noir (colin)
  • Dan: Sej (grisej)
Coal fish, Ecomare

Coal fish

Coal fish (also called saithe) are feared predators. Not only do they eat small crustaceans, herring and sprat, they even eat their own young. They closely resemble whiting. The greatest difference is found in the jaw. While by coal fish the lower jaw sticks out, it's the upper jaw that sticks out by whiting. Coal fish often live in large schools on or just above the sea floor. On a global scale, this fish is number two on the list of most important species for the fisheries. Only anchovies (from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans together) are caught more often.

  • Distribution
    Distribution of coal fish, Ecomare

    Coal fish live in the North Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and Baltic Sea. They swim down to a depth of 250 meters and like to stay around wrecks and drilling platforms. From experiments where marked specimen are re-caught, scientists have found that coal fish make long migration voyages between the continents of Europe and America. Coal fish spawn from February till April in the northern North Sea.