In the present study we investigated the respiratory burst (RB) activity of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) blood phagocytes and we evaluated how the RB activity of cod blood cells differ from that of trout. The RB activities were measured directly from highly diluted whole blood as luminol-amplified chemiluminescence (CL) under various conditions. Studies regarding the blood dilutions for cod whole blood chemiluminescence measurements (WBCL) revealed that at a final blood dilution of 1.5 μl ml−1 or less the CL response was strictly proportional to the number of phagocytes. This range of blood dilution did not markedly differ from that of trout. However, the opsonisation capacity of cod plasma was markedly poorer. The RB activity of phagocytes was most active at 15 °C when heterologous cod serum was used as a source of opsonin, whereas at final blood dilution of 8.0 μl ml−1 (when homologous cod plasma was at a higher concentration) the highest RB activity was observed at 10 °C. Aeromonas salmonicida strain MT004 (As MT004) induced higher RB activity than the two known pathogens for cod, atypical A. salmonicida and Vibrio anguillarum. Cod blood phagocytes were more responsive to plastic surfaces and the adhesion response of phagocytes was partly inhibited but did not totally vanish even at a final gelatin concentration of 0.4%. Moreover, cod serum enhanced the adherence of phagocytes and cod blood phagocytes also showed slow spontaneous degranulation. Finally, within the tested anticoagulants (heparin, Na-citrate, EDTA) heparin treated blood phagocytes generated the highest RB activity.