Maine Seafood Guide - Cod

Photo of cod in red bucketsCod

species description | season | status | regulatory authority |
harvest method | recreational harvest | health benefits & risks | 

buying & preparing | brands | certifications | links | featured harvester

Species Description
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.
>back to top

Status (see the About page for definitions)
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 for status, science, and more.

>back to top

Regulatory Authority
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.
>back to top

Harvest Method
Otter trawl, gillnet, and longline.
>back to top

Recreational Harvest
August 1 through September 30, one fish per angler per day, minimum size 24 inches.
>back to top

Health Benefits & Risks
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.
>back to top

Buying & Preparing
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.
>back to top

Companies, Brands, and Labels
Great Bay Aquaculture of Maine
Port Clyde Fresh Catch
>back to top

Certifications & Verifications
Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested
>back to top


>back to top

Featured Harvester
>back to top

species description | season | status | harvest method | recreational harvest
health benefits & risks | 
buying & preparing | brands certifications | links | featured harvester