Ling The common ling (Molva molva), also known as the white ling or simply the ling, is a large member of the family Lotidae, a group of cod-like fishes. It resembles the related rocklings, but it is much larger and has a single barbel. This species is unrelated to the pink ling, Genypterus blades, from the Southern Hemisphere.
The common ling is found in the northern Atlantic, mainly of Europe, and into the Mediterranean Basin. This species inhabits inshore waters of up to 100 m deep over hard substrates where it lives either solitarily or in small groups. Juveniles are pelagic while adults are generally demersal, living close to the bottom. They can grow up to a length of 1 m and a weight of 22 kg.
The common ling is a major commercial species, caught by trawlers and seine nets. It is sold fresh or dried salted after being boiled, fried, or grilled. However, the species has declined in the North Sea due to overfishing since it was not considered edible until about 100 years ago. Nowadays it is targeted by the trawler fleet, which fishes throughout most of the year. Recreational fishing is permitted in some areas.
The common ling is one of the largest members of its family, reaching a maximum length of about 100 cm and weight of 22 kg. Its coloring varies geographically, being plain brown to reddish-brown on its upper surface in the northeast Atlantic. It has elongated, covered with small scales and large cycloid scales in a single row behind its head. These are narrow but overlap broadly to form a moderately thick median line that runs from the end of the snout along most of the body anteriorly, there is another row on each side above it running back from the pectoral fin. The front of the head is a plain dark brown, while a broad bar runs from near the eye to just under the opercle. The fins are all dusky except for a bright yellow caudal fin and anal fin on some individuals. This species also has two distinctive blackish spots. One is at the front of the dorsal fin on some specimens, while another is just in front of the tail.
Most of the common ling's food consists of small benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, worms, and mollusks. This species is an oviparous broadcast spawner and the female can lay as many as 40 million eggs at a time.
The flesh of this fish is considered excellent table fare and is often sold in fish markets with other cod-like fishes. It is reported to have an unpleasant smell in some specimens, however. This species is of minor commercial importance and has been fished commercially since at least the 17th century.
The common ling's maximum length and weight are 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 22 kg (48 lb), respectively. Common ling's food consists of small benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, worms, and mollusks. This species is an oviparous broadcast spawner and the female can lay as many as 40 million eggs at a time.