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Cape Cod Some Codfish Facts

The cod’s teeth are sharp, uneven, and pointed. It has no “grinders.” Codfish eat everything from crabs & clams to herring and other fish. You can tell what the cod have been eating by the sharpness of their teeth. Codfish that primarily feed on baitfish like herring or sand eels will have very sharp teeth. Cod that are “grubbing” or bottom feeding (primarily eating crabs and other shellfish) will have dull teeth.

Dressing (or gutting) several thousand pounds of large (or steaker) codfish can wear out your gloves in no time. The large cod are usually grabbed by the mouth while dressing them. A cut is made in the fleshy part of the lower jaw which turns the lower jawbone into a “handle”. The heads of the large cod may or may not be removed by the fishermen while dressing them. This depends on the market. A “steaker” or “steak cod” is a large fish with the head removed. A “large cod” is sold with the head on.
photo by *saipal

It takes about three years for the cod to reach a weight of five pounds. Some codfish have been known to grow to the enormous size of 150 to 200 pounds. These days a cod of over 10 pounds is considered a large cod, steaker or steak cod.

The chief foods of the cod are small fish, like herring and sand eels, worms, mollusks and shellfish. The spawning season of the cod is from October to April, During this period, the fish crowd together in shoals or schools.

The cod played an important role in the early economy of Colonial Massachusetts.

Is eating codfish good for you?

Cod Nutritional Information

serving size 55 g
total calories 58 | fat calories 4
% daily value* 
  total fat 464 mg | 1%
    saturated fat 80 mg | 0%
    trans fat   |
  cholesterol 29 mg | 10%
  sodium 71 mg | 3%
  total carbohydrates 0 g | 0%
    dietary fiber 0 g | 0%
    sugar 0 g |
  protein 13 g | 25%
vitamin A 0%  | vitamin C 2% 
calcium 1%  | iron 1% 
vitamin D 12%  | vitamin E 2% 
thiamin 2%  | riboflavin 2% 
niacin 7%  | vitamin B6 9% 
vitamin B12 10%  | folic acid 0% 
phosphorus 11%  | magnesium 5% 
zinc 2%  |
*percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet
(averaged over different types of cod)

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 01/26/06
Categories: FishingNature
Keywords: fishing, cod, codfish, facts, steaker, steak cod, nutritional information


I only have a question and I’m hoping you can give me an answer:

I have heard that cod may and sometimes eat other cod can you please verify this. Thank you.

Posted by Kentara from Sea-Tac on 01/16/09 at 05:52 PM | #

Yes codfish do eat other codfish. Cod are cannibals and exhibit cannibalistic behavior.

PREDATION AND COMPETITION:  Young cod fall prey to a number of predators such as older, larger cod, squid, and pollock.  Larger cod are eaten in turn by marine mammals, particularly harbor, grey, and harp seals. Pilot whales prefer squid but eat cod in the absence of squid. Young cod compete for food with other gadoid species such as silver hake.—Species cod, Atlantic

They even figured out how to keep cod from eating one another. “We used to call the big ones Idi Amin,” Terje van der Meeren of the Institute of Marine Research told me, comparing the behavior of the larger codlings to that of the infamous Ugandan dictator. But by regulating juvenile food supply, this, too, was overcome. “If I see one with another in the mouth,” van der Meeren says, “I double the feeding. Why wait?” Soon after he fed the young cod more, he found that their tendency toward cannibalism disappeared.—Green to the Gills

Codfish as big as an eight-year-old child are roaming three Arctic saltwater lakes, eating anything in their path—including each other.

That sometimes means they breed to feed, occasionally eating their own offspring.

The killer cod are usually so hungry, Hardie said, they scoop up everything, even rocks, in their pursuit of smaller fish, sea urchins or seaweed.

“You’ll find anything in a cod’s stomach and they’re also highly cannibalistic as well,” said Hutchings. “In fact, the cannibalism rate in this lake is higher than we’ve ever seen it.”—Way up north, the cod are cannibals

Posted by Cape Cod from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on 01/17/09 at 02:38 AM | #

Dear Sir:

I am looking for frozen Cod fish or other kinds fish (bigger fish) stomach if you are interested,please contact me ASAP


Richard YIP
EAST Coast Trading Co

Posted by Richard from NYC (USA) on 02/12/09 at 06:43 AM | #

When cleaning the cod, do you find worms in the flesh of the cod.  I have been told not to eat the cod because it has worms.  I love cod.  Please tell me the truth.

Posted by Joy from Colorado on 02/25/12 at 07:29 AM | #

Since the explosion of the seal population, the codfish around here have gotten seal worms. So yes, cod do have worms. However, these worms are easy to see in the fillets and are also easy to remove. In fish houses, they put the fillets on a lighted table which makes it easy to spot and remove any worms. You can also just hold the fillet up to a light and you will see any worms in there.

Posted by Cape Cod from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on 03/01/12 at 03:56 PM | #

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