A total of 128 Strains of moderately halophilic bacteria were isolated from wet, dry and desalted bachalao (salted codfish) as well as from fresh cod and curing salt. The viable count of these bacteria in fully cured wet and dry bachalao ranged from 103 to 107 per g. All strains were characterized with 40 phenotypic tests and clustered using the SSM coefficient and UPGMA linking analysis. The strains clustered into five phena at 75% similarity, with 77 strains in phenon A and 37 in phenon E. Two main colony types, smooth and rough, were observed and correspond to phena A, B and C on one hand and phenon E on the other. These two types seem to represent the dominating bacterial flora in fully cured, wet and dry bachalao, respectively. Representative strains of the smooth colony type were characterized further and found to grow well in 0.1–4.5 mol I−1 NaCl and at 15–37°C. They have not, at present, been assigned to any known bacterial species.