Cod is a cold-water fish which is certainly not found in the warm tropical waters surrounding Singapore and the region. It is usually caught in the temperate oceans in the northern hemisphere. Major Cod fisheries include Norway and Canada. The Atlantic Cod is the most sought after variety in Singapore and it is also the priciest.
Consumers in Singapore are very particular when it comes to our seafood. We always want our seafood to be fresh. The perception is that frozen means inferior. I have seen customers in the market specifically request for fresh Cod Fish. Unfortunately, fresh Cod Fish in the retail market in Singapore is a myth. You can find thawed Cod Fish, but not fresh Cod.
The reason we cannot find fresh Cod Fish in the market is due to the logistics. Cod Fish is line caught and then immediately thrown into the freezer in the fishing vessel. It is already frozen at the very first step of the supply chain. There are many customers who are unaware of this and continue to buy “fresh” Cod Fish in our markets. These “fresh” Cod Fish are usually frozen cod that have been left too long outside the freezer and have begun to thaw.
Fortunately, refreezing Cod Fish most of the time does not result in significant deterioration to the quality of the fresh. My guess for this is the much higher fat content that is concentrated in Cod Fish.
Now you know why Cod Fish is always frozen. Remember not to unknowingly ask for fresh Cod Fish when you do your groceries shopping in wet markets / supermarkets.