Cobia (Ling)

    ALSO KNOWN AS:

    Crabeater,
    Sergeantfish,
    Ling, Cabio,
    Cubby Yew,
    Lemonfish

    Cobia is a highly valued seafood species – they’re a popular game fish and taste delicious. Most
    of the cobia you’ll find in the market comes from aquaculture operations. In the wild, cobia are
    rarely seen in large groups, so only a small amount is wild-caught. Commercial fishermen do not
    specifically target cobia and only land them as bycatch when fishing for other species.

    LOCATION & HABITAT
    Cobia are found in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters around the world, except in
    the Eastern Pacific. In U.S. waters, they’re most abundant from Virginia south through the Gulf of
    Mexico. Cobia migrate seasonally in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Along the Atlantic coast, they
    move south and offshore toward warmer waters during the late fall and winter. Cobia found in the
    northeastern Gulf during the summer move to south Florida waters in the winter, possibly
    spending the winter near the Florida Keys.

    Cobia are pelagic – they live near the surface of the water column. They prefer to live near any
    structure in the water (buoys, debris, shipwrecks, and artificial reefs) or large animals (sharks,
    turtles, and stingrays). Cobia are rarely seen in large groups. Adult cobia tend to travel alone or in
    small pods.

    BIOLOGY
    Cobia grow fast when they’re young and more slowly as they get older. They grow up to 6 feet and
    100 pounds and can live up to 12 years. Cobia are able to reproduce when they’re young –
    females mature at age 3 and males mature at age 2. Depending on their size, females have
    between 375,000 and almost 2 million eggs. Cobia spawn several times throughout their
    spawning season, which spans from late June to mid-August in the Southeast and from late
    summer to early fall in the Gulf of Mexico. They spawn in coastal bays and estuaries.

    Cobia are strong, aggressive predators, feeding on fish, squid, and crustaceans. In fact, they’re
    nicknamed “crab eaters” because the bulk of their diet is crustaceans. Larger pelagic fishes prey
    on young cobia.

    PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
    Cobia is the only member of the family Rachycentridae in North America. The remora (shark
    sucker) is their closest living relative. In fact, they’re often mistaken for sharks or remoras. They’re
    dark brown with a single dorsal fin. Young cobia have distinct coloring, with alternating black and
    white horizontal stripes and splotches of bronze, orange, and green.

    Cobia Saltwater Fishing Regulation
    Cobia - Fishery
    Cobia - Seafood


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