Whitefish or white fish is a fisheries term referring to several species of demersal fish with fins, particularly cod (Gadus morhua), whiting (Merluccius bilinearis), and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), but also hake (Urophycis), pollock (Pollachius), or others. Whitefish (Coregonidae) is also the name of several species of Atlantic freshwater fish, so the use of the two-word term 'white fish' is less misleading.
White fish live on or near the seafloor, and can be contrasted with the oily or pelagic fish which live in the water column away from the seafloor. Unlike oily fish, white fish contain oils only in their liver, rather than in their gut, and can therefore be gutted as soon as they are caught, on board the ship. White fish has dry and white flesh.
White fish can be divided into benthopelagic fish (round fish which live near the sea bed, such as cod and coley) and benthic fish (which live on the sea bed, such as flatfish like plaice).
White fish is sometimes eaten straight but is often used reconstituted for fishsticks, gefilte fish, lutefisk, surimi (imitation crabmeat), etc. For centuries it was preserved by drying as stockfish and clipfish and traded as a world commodity. It is most widely known as the key ingredient in the classic British dish fish and chips. In Jewish cuisine, smoked whole whitefish and whitefish salad are delicacies enjoyed with bagels.