worms in fish???

Joined Aug 13, 2006
I had a friend over from the states and was making fish. She was telling me to make sure to cook it well because of the worms.

What??? worms in fish?

I had never heard of this. I thought she meant tiny microscopic worms, but no, she said she's actually seen worms sticking up while frying a fish in the pan!
I can't describe my shock and disgust. I don't think I could deal with finding a live worm in my fish.
I thought at first of a worm that had infested the live fish, like trichinosis in pork, but then i thought maybe it's some kinds of worms (or rather larvae) that are laid in the fish by insects after they;re killed.
Can someone put my mind at rest? I rarely buy fresh fish, it's hard to find good fresh fish here, unless you know the right stores, and it;s usually so expensive, but if i have to be careful of worms i will probably never buy it.
Joined Oct 16, 2008
Its mostly found in Billfish like Sword, Marlin... but may also be in AmberJack, Crevali and Escolar. They are a parasite that grows in the fish naturally and they die when you cook the fish. I have seen more than my fair share and any good fish monger will remove them when the break down the fish into sides or filets.
Joined Apr 21, 2009
In culinary school learning to break down fish I remember finding little white worms in Cod, maybe an inch, inch and a half. The chef said he had seen them before and just to be careful to remove them all. It freaked a couple people out.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Extra protein :D Yeah it happens, haven't seen it, but heard of it.

That's why we can't get pickled rollmops here onto the island - the Fisheries Board are afraid someone will crash a jar of them into the river and infest our fish population with worms. Bleeding ridiculous.

It's not good to think about it too much. Yum yum.

P.S. I think, but don't quote me, that freezing kills them. But I am no expert on it.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
that's the word from sushi guys....freezin' kills um.
I worked at a fish place umpteen years ago....cod had worms, they really freak people out.

17 year old nephew won't eat local apples cus of worms, won't eat lettuce I buy from farmer's market in case of bugs.....freak! love you Seth.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I was under the impression that its mainly white fish that have them. cod , pollock and such.
Joined Aug 25, 2009
I read that :

"Saltwater fish play host to more than 100 species of parasites. The most commonly found are the Phocanema round worm and the Anisakis round worm"
Joined Apr 5, 2007
As stated cod commonly has visible worms. Monkfish is another common one. I've also come across them in halibut. If you think pin-boning is a pain...

Joined Nov 22, 2009
You do know that both cattle, pigs and sheep also can have parasites, don't you? Time to go vegan? ;)
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Time to go vegan? ;)

You have any idea of the number of critters who take up residence in veggies?

Remember the old vaudville routine: What's the only thing worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm? Biting into an apple and finding half a worm. Ba dum dum!
Joined Aug 7, 2008
Swordfish frequently has worms as well. All sushi in the USA at least that sold to the letter of the law has to be frozen to kill parasites. There is a USDA formula for time and temperature. While Tuna is less prone to parasites IIR the Tuna freezers at Morimoto run at some thing like minus eighty six degrees.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I feel incredibly lucky not to ever have seen a fish worm. I wouldn't be squeamish if i found out i had eaten a cooked worm, or even a live apple worm, but i am definitely squeamish if i SEE a worm. And for some reason, worms in fish sound particularly repulsive.
Anyway, thanks for the information. I am very much inclined to agree with Koukouvagia, I definitely do NOT want to run into one of those guys. I may confine my fish eating to restaurants and frozen fish.

As for vegetable worms, i can't imagine anything worse than a tapeworm whose eggs are often in lettuce (i am not letting my imagination run wild, though, since i'm sure some episode of House or ER has had some even more disgusting worms in it, but i'm definitely not thinking of those, no, not thinking of them...)
Joined Nov 30, 2009
This worms are parasites. They are common to fish. But if you undercook the fish. The eggs survive and the parasite will evolve in one of humans basic organs, heart lungs, livers or even brains.
No panic! The main thing is to cook the fish properly.


Joined Dec 14, 2006
Freshwater bass can have worms also.

If memory serves, I believe that in Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain said that he never ate swordfish because of the worms he'd seen in that species.
Joined Oct 16, 2009
Monkfish, Swordfish and Tuna are the three that I have seen the most amount of worms in. I have worked with a lot of cod and to date have never once seen a worm in cod but I have heard Atlantic Cod has much more worms than Pacific cod.

In Florida we had received some fresh monkfish and one piece was particularly infected. I splashed a bunch of lemon juice on it and about 10-15 little worms came slithering out. Nearly caused another cook to toss his cookies.

In Hawaii we had a side of Swordfish that had a ton of worms in it, they came slithering out while it was on ice in the walk-in.

And in Tuna I’ve had some very large long worms (4-5” in length).

However, from what I’ve been told most of these worms are not dangerous to humans even if ingested. It’s freshwater fish that has worms that can harm us.
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