In colour the Greenland cod is generally sombre, ranging from tan to brown to silvery. Its appearance is similar to that of other cod species; generally heavy-bodied, elongate, usually with a stout caudal peduncle. They can grow to a length of 80 cm.
They are bottom fishes inhabiting inshore waters and continental shelves, up to depths of 200 m. Their range covers the Arctic Ocean and Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Alaska to West Greenland, then south along the Canadian coast to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cape Breton Island generally from 45 to 75 degrees N.
Their wholesome flesh is whitish and flaky but firmer and tougher and less desirable than that of the Atlantic cod. The stock of Greenland cod has been strongly reduced in recent years.