Latin name

Brosme brosme

Other names

European cusk, brosmius


Has an elongated body covered with fine scales. The lateral line begins at the head, runs along the entire body, curves sharply downward at the level of the anus, and is interrupted at the tail stalk. The upper jaw is slightly longer than the lower. There are no antennae on the snout, but there is a long chin strap. There are several rows of teeth on the jaws and scutellum. The vertebrae are 63-66.

Features of fish fins

Cusk differ from other Gadidae in having a single long dorsal fin with 85-107 soft rays, which runs along the entire dorsum and is partially connected to the caudal fin. Anal fin with 62-77 soft rays, long but shorter than the dorsal fin, also connected to the caudal fin, separated from the latter by a distinct notch. Caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins broad and rounded. The pelvic fins have no elongated ray. Vertebrae 63-66.

Fish colouring

Body colour pale yellow with a brown tinge, slightly darker on the back, belly white. Unpaired fins with a white edge followed by a black stripe.


Widespread in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Off the coast of Europe, it inhabits the coasts of Norway, Ireland, Great Britain, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In the north-west Atlantic - from Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland to New Jersey. Occurs in the Barents Sea off the Kola Peninsula and Spitsbergen.


A bottom dweller that prefers hard substrates. It inhabits depths from 20 to 1000 m, mainly between 150 and 450 m, and never comes close to the shore. 


The maximum length is 120 cm and the maximum mass is 30 kg. 


It is solitary and sedentary, occasionally forming small flocks. Makes short seasonal migrations, changing the depth of habitats. Maximum lifespan is 20 years.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes and small fish.


First matures at 5-6 years, but most individuals mature at 8-10 years. Spawns from April to August with a peak in May. Fecundity ranges from 790 to 2280 thousand eggs. Eggs are pelagic with an orange fat droplet, 1.2-1.6 mm in diameter. Larvae and juveniles are also pelagic, becoming benthic at a body length of about 5 cm.


It is known for its pleasant flavour but has no significant commercial value.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Gadiformes
Family Lotidae
Genus Brosme
Species B. brosme
Conservation status No information
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 20
Maximum body weight, kg 30
Maximum length, cm 120
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Tags: cusk