“OMG! There are worms in my fish!”


I got a desperate string of emails this past week from a couple of my SOSSEXI friends and fellow shareholders asking if something had gone horribly wrong with the fish they received last Friday. You see, a couple of them had opened up their packages of flounder, ready to whip up a culinary masterpiece, and lo and behold, to their absolute disgust, they had found a small, blackish-grey worm or two on their fillets. Had this been my Mom, who is absolutely not a fisherman, she would have tossed the fish out immediately and said something like “that would gag a maggot!” as she speed-dialed the local pizzeria.

Finish reading an updated version of this post here, on the edible South Shore & South Coast website.




About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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7 Responses to “OMG! There are worms in my fish!”

  1. DanD says:

    Well put. Too many people on the internet share their disgust at having found a worm in their fish. This is a sensible article that puts it in perspective and helps explain that it’s not a big deal and can be dealt with easy enough. And you’re right, if folks were more involved in where their food really came from they wouldn’t have have such a problem. After filleting a bunch of cod, the sight and removal of the worms becomes no big deal.

  2. Jane says:

    I mean these parallel, dark lines at some sea or river firshes – such as these on your 3rd photo.

    I apologize for such a question, but there is now many problems with nematodes.


  3. Jane says:

    Dear Sir,
    I see that you have a big knowledge about fish and worms they may have. That is why, if possible, I would like to ask you one question.

    Nematodes are worms that are usually white or brown and they are often rectangularly coiled. But more and more often when I cook or bake a whole fish without opening it before, I see something such as is visible on your 3rd photo (that one, where you are just opening your fish): very thin lines of brown colour, plenty of them, going through white muscles from up to down the fish. On your raw fish it has yet grey colour.

    At first I thought that these are vessels. But after I noticed it is not in the Pacific Ocean fish such as e.g. icefish or you not see them in salmon. I know that species may vary, but I become afraid of, whether these are not nematodes? Especially that now many fish has it.

    Thank you in advance.

    Very good and interesting article, thank you!

  4. Theo mclelland says:

    Many times I’ve stayed over Craig’s before he got hitched and he would make scrod the next day my job was to check for worms they are no big deal at all

  5. gadusgirl says:

    I’m a PhD student working on predator prey relationships between grey seals and groundfish along eastern Canada and weaving the biology with the socioeconomic variables related to small fishing communities. Right now, I am focusing on collecting some data from food processors regarding infection rates. The situation sounds quite dire, especially in terms of labor costs compounded by sharp drops in production. There are reports of nematodes showing up in fish species that never presented these parasites 25 years ago. I would be very interested to know how the situation along New England pans out with the New England grey seal breeding colony (you can thank Canada for that as I believe the genetics work has resolved that those seals originally came from Sable Island).

    • @gadusgirl- Your work sounds really interesting, and I would love to chat with you. I have some information and contacts for you. Send me a message on Facebook to Kathleen Fitzpatrick Wright and we can exchange information. Thanks for the comment.

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