Ling is a bony fish species in the rockling family which has an long, narrow body shape. It has a long barbel on the chin, two dorsal fins, in which one is short and the other long, and a ventral fin. It has a grey-brown colour and white abdomen.
Ling live on hard bottoms or sand bottoms with large rocks in warm, relatively deep areas at depths of 60–1000 metres, but are most commonly found at depths of 300–400 metres. The young fish are found widely in shallow coastal areas, on the banks and in the northern part of the North Sea. When it reaches a certain age and size, it migrates out into deeper areas. The spawning grounds for ling are in the North Sea, at Storegga, off the Faroe Islands, on the banks west of the British Isles and south-west of Iceland. Ling become sexually mature at ages 5–7, and they can probably live to be more than 30 years old, up to 2 metres long and weighing 40 kg. Ling feed on fish such as cod, herring, mackerel, redfish and various flatfish.
Fishing for ling takes place year round. Ling are fished from the Iceland Ridge to Vesterålsbankene, but most of the fishing occurs in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. Usual fishing gear is bottom-set longline and bottom-set gillnets.
In Norwegian areas, there is no quota regulation of fishing for ling for Norwegian vessels, whereas quotas are set annually for vessels from other countries.
There is little basis for assessing the ling stock, and the information that is available mainly comes from the fisheries. the catches have been stable since the beginning of the 1980s and have increased somewhat in recent years.
Food safety / Quality controls
The Norwegian seafood industry is subject to stringent requirements in order to ensure food safety. The control system consists of several bodies which jointly examine and monitor compliance with the requirements in all stages of the production chain. The bodies which supervise food are the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
Ling is a lean fish and is especially rich in
- Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body.
- Vitamin D, which is necessary for getting the right calcium balance in the body and thus contributes to maintaining and strengthening the skeleton.
- Selenium, which is an important element in an enzyme that combats harmful chemical processes in the body.
- Ling is also rich in calcium and magnesium.
Ling has a white, tasty, firm flesh which is quite coarse. The taste can remind one of cod. It is useful and can be grilled, fried or boiled, and it can be used with many types of accompaniments and spices.