Tusk is a fish species in the cod family. It is recognisable by its extended body shape, the barbel under the chin, one continuous dorsal fin, a greyish/brownish back and a greyish white underside. The fins are brown and white on the tip. The tusk is a bottom-dwelling species which prefers rocky bottoms on the continental shelf and the slope from 100 to 1000 metres, but it is most common from depths of 200–500 metres in deep fjords. The adults live in deep areas, while the young fish live in quite shallow areas. Tusk feed on fish, but also on crayfish, squat lobsters and prawns. They can be up to 1.1 metre and 15 kg and can probably live to be more than 20 years old.
The tusk becomes sexually mature relatively late, at the age of 8–10. It spawns in the period April–June, and the spawning areas are off the coast of Southern and Central Norway and south and south-west of Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
Tusk are fished year round in the North sea, along the Norwegian coast and in the Barents Sea. They are mainly fished as by-catch with bottom otter trawls, bottom-set longlines and bottom-set gillnets.
In the Norwegian zone, there is no quota regulation of fishing for tusk for Norwegian vessels. For vessels from other countries, annual quotas are set in the Norwegian zone.
Tusk are considered to have a good utilisation pattern without a recruitment deficiency. The wide distribution both at sea and along the coast and in fjords indicates that the probability of extirpation is very small.
Food safety and quality control
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.
A quality standard has been developed for Norwegian fresh tusk(NS 9442:2013) which is intended to ensure that the quality requirements are met.
Tusk is a lean fish which is especially rich in
- Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body.
- Vitamin B12, which is important for the body's production of new cells, including red blood cells, and which can contribute to preventing anaemia.
- Selenium, an important element in the enzymes that combat harmful chemical processes in the body.
Tusk has a chalk-white and firm flesh with a mild taste of lobster and cod. It can be prepared in small pieces, as in stir-frying. The flesh is succulent and fine, and in addition to fried dishes it is well-suited to baked dishes. Lightly salted fillets can be boiled or used in various dishes.