Maine Seafood Guide – Cod
Atlantic cod Gadus morhua
also known as baccalao, scrod, morue
Wild (cod aquaculture has been practiced in the past but is not currently occurring at a commercial scale in Maine).
Atlantic cod are bottom-dwelling, white-fleshed fish found from Greenland to North Carolina.
Year-round, with a peak in late summer.
The latest assessment by NOAA determined that both the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank stocks of cod are overfished and overfishing is occurring. Fishing is still allowed, but at reduced levels. Check NOAA’s Northeast Regional Office for the latest news on Gulf of Maine cod and Fishwatch.gov for status, science, and more.
New England Fishery Management Council Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Plan.
Groundfish is a collective name for cod, haddock, pollock, hake, redfish, flounder, halibut, and other bottom-dwelling finfish.
Minimum size limit: 22 inches
Harvest limit: one fish per angler per day.
Season: April 1 – April 14 and September 1 – October 7. May not be possessed on board from October 8-March 31 and April 15 – August 31.
Cod is low in fat and calories and is a good source of vitamin B12, but contains a lower amount of omega-3 fatty acids than other seafood choices. Cod is low in mercury and other contaminants.
Fresh cod should not be eaten raw due to the possible presence of naturally occurring parasitic roundworms. Cod worms are not harmful when fish is cooked properly to an internal temperature of 140°F, which normal cooking techniques generally exceed, or frozen if intended for raw consumption. A controlled food source means that farmed cod do contain worms.
Look for a fresh, not “fishy” smell; white translucent color, clear eyes and bright red gills if whole fish. In Maine, cod and other groundfish are landed primarily at the Portland Fish Exchange. A few cooperatives are emerging that sell local cod directly to consumers, such as Port Clyde Fresh Catch.
- Department of Marine Resources Groundfish Information
- Cod information from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center
- Read Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky