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Learn about cusk

This groundfish looks like a cross between a cod and an eel! Learn more about the cusk species.


  • Cusk rarely grow more than 3 feet and 20 pounds. It takes them a long time to grow, too. They reach 1.5 feet in more than 5 years. Cusk vary in color, from red-brown to green-brown to yellow. The belly is a paler shade of whatever color is on the dorsal. The fins have dark rims edged in white.
  • Cusk look a bit like an eel with its long body. They have a large mouth and a blunt snout. They are similar in appearance to the Atlantic cod and haddock.

Cusk facts

  • Species name: Brosme brosme
  • Cusk are known to eat crabs and mollusks and not much else. Common predators are the blackrim cusk-eel, thorny skate, and windowpane flounder.
  • Cusk spawn between March and July. The eggs float at first, then sink to the bottom and become stationary. Cusk tend to stay in deep, rocky areas, sometimes forming small groups. Females mature later than males, and cusk grow over 15 years. Other than that, little else is known about the cusk.
  • Cusk are not a targeted species, but you may take them as bycatch. Cusk are usually caught as bycatch while anglers are fishing for cod, haddock, and other ground species.
  • You can smoke, bake, pan sear, or grill cusk for a meal. Fillets are sold fresh and frozen.
  • Cusk live in in the western Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to Cape Cod. Now and then, fishermen will spot them as far south as New Jersey.
  • NOAA Fisheries and DMF manage the cusk species. They follow the requirements of the New England Fishery Management Council.
Cusk distribution map

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