Cod are a large group of fish ranging from the small, colourful basslets to the large Queensland groupers. It’s a beautiful family of fish that loves playing hide and seek with the divers are sought after under the water. They are often found inside caves and cracks, under ledges, or inside soft coral trees. Many can adjust their colour to blend in with their surroundings, sometimes making it hard to spot them while snorkelling or scuba diving, but they are usually all around, just waiting to be found.
The majority of species have three spines on the gill cover and a large mouth with more than one row of teeth. Generally these fish ambush prey using their colouration patterns for camouflage. Cod are also known as groupers and the largest of them can weigh up to 400kg.
The most common cod around the Whitsundays are honeycomb cod, coral cod, barramundi cod and potato cod, all of which are protected species in the Great Barrier Reef. However, many other species in the cod family are of commercial value and are fished by hobby fishermen and commercial fisheries... However, fish in the cod family are among the worst offenders for causing ciguatera poisoning, meaning there are size and bag restrictions for these fish within the Marine Park. All potato cod and groupers over 120 centimetres in length are protected, for both the protection of the species and those that may want to consume them.
They can be a friendly group of fish, with the big potato cod (up to 1.8 meters!) is likely to follow your torch during a night dive and hunt little fish that comes into the light. There are several locations on the Great Barrier Reef that are known for the cod populations, and they are often spotted at night enjoying the blue lights on the back of Whitsunday Catamarans.