New England Aquarium’s Study On Cusk Mortality

Here is a short video by the New England Aquarium on a collaborative study conducted in 2015-2016. Cusk (Brosme brosme) is not targeted by commercial fishermen and historically has been an inexpensive fish, if you can find one at a market. Their firm, mild flesh is known locally to be good in fish cakes and chowder. However some cusk is caught along with commercially targeted species and is popular with recreational fishermen. When I used to work on the wharves of Gloucester I remember seeing some pretty big cusk on occasion, but they were not a species we paid much attention to. They were worth less than 25 cents per pound back then and we probably gave them away to the old-timers as part of the old, unwritten rule of giving fish to the old fisherman.

Cusk Image

Cusk are part of the ling family and look sort of like an eel. They are a deep water fish and often when you catch a cusk, their stomachs pop out of their mouths from the effects of pressure loss. This is called barotrauma and anytime I saw this on cusk, hake or similar fish, I assumed the fish would die no matter what. That is why I find this video interesting, I’m curious how many survive once they are released. If I find their conclusions I will update this post.


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