To our knowledge, there is no report on microRNA (miRNA) expression and their target analysis in relation to the type of the first feed and its effect on the further growth of fish. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) larvae have better growth and development performance when fed natural zooplankton as a start-feed, as compared with those fed typical aquaculture start-feeds. In our experiment, two groups of Atlantic cod larvae were fed reference feed (zooplankton, mostly copepods, filtered from a seawater pond) v. aquaculture feeds: enriched rotifers (Brachionus sp.) and later brine shrimp (Artemia salina). We examined the miRNA expressions of six defined developmental stages as determined and standardised by body length from first feeding for both diet groups. We found eight miRNA (miR-9, miR-19a, miR-130b, miR-146, miR-181a, miR-192, miR-206 and miR-11240) differentially expressed between the two feeding groups in at least one developmental stage. We verified the next-generation sequencing data using real-time RT-PCR. We found 397 putative targets (mRNA) to the differentially expressed miRNA; eighteen of these mRNA showed differential expression in at least one stage. The patterns of differentially expressed miRNA and their putative target mRNA were mostly inverse, but sometimes also concurrent. The predicted miRNA targets were involved in different pathways, including metabolic, phototransduction and signalling pathways. The results of this study provide new nutrigenomic information on the potential role of miRNA in mediating nutritional effects on growth during the start-feeding period in fish larvae.