The Ling can reach a very large size, the largest on records was 7 feet long. It occurs all around the country but is very rare in the colder waters north and east of Iceland. It is found over a wide depth range, spanning from 49 to 3300 feet depth. Usually the younger fish are in shallower waters. It is found in European waters from northern Norway to the Mediterranean Sea. It also occurs around the Faroe Islands, and has been reported off southern Greenlandic waters and on the Grand Banks off Canada.

The ling has a large mouth with sharp teeth, a classic predator on other fishes. It mostly eats herring, flatfishes, and other codfishes. Spawning takes place along the continental shelf break off south and west Iceland, in May and June. It reaches sexual maturity at the age of 5 to 8 years when it has reached 60 to 80 cm in length. It can reach at least 25 years of age.

The flesh of the Ling is white, firm and it has good flavor. Similar texture and flavor can be found in Tusk.