Andrew Sutton, Recreational Angler
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Posted on March 14, 2013 | Permalink
Parasitic Worms in Yellow Perch
Region: Bay Wide
Q: I had a great day catching some yellow perch after a long day of work. Brought four keepers home. A buddy mentioned something about yellow perch having worms in their meat. Is there truth to this? And if so, are they harmful for consumption? Can they be cooked out? Thanks, any insight is appreciated.
A: I don't know about current conditions, but yellow perch and just about any other species of fish are susceptible to parasitic worms. Usually called "black spot or white spot" disease in fish, the worms are one stage in the life cycle of a parasite group known as digenetic trematodes. This group goes through a complex life cycle involving an invertebrate, a fish and an aquatic bird as hosts. The stage found in fish can be numerous at times and give a an unpleasant appearance. However, they do not pose a risk to humans. We do recommend that anglers avoid eating fish with any lesions. However, some anglers carve out the "spots" or worms from the fillet if there are not too many.
Also check out this Angler's Log post by Keith Lockwood.