'Wholly intact' human head discovered inside belly of cod
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Correspondent
30 August 2000
Stay in the water everybody somehow, this is not quite Jaws. Whichever way you look at a cod, to see it as a ruthless killer in the shark league is quite difficult. Evidently, it's more of a ruthless slurper.
But that's not to underestimate the consternation among workers at an Australian fish processing plant when they gutted a monster cod earlier this week and found inside it a human head.
The grisly discovery was made at Cairns in north Queensland when workers at the appropriately named A Fine Kettle of Fish filleting factory opened up the beast, nearly six feet long and weighing nearly 100lb. As they did so, the head of a man rolled out on to the filleting table.
Displaying a natural talent for understatement, the factory owner, Peter Monson, commented: "It's not an everyday occurrence that you make a discovery like this." He added: "There was just total disbelief. You would never dream of it." The head was "wholly intact".
The fish, a Morgan cod that had been caught by a local trawler over the weekend, brought into Cairns and kept on ice, was taken away by police in a body bag.
Although members of the cod family can grow to great sizes even to double the size of the Cairns fish their food tends to be shellfish and other bottom-dwelling organisms.
Detective Sergeant Dave Miles of Cairns police said forensic experts would try to establish the identity of the remains and discover how the head was severed. Police are investigating whether it may have been that of a fisherman who disappeared after falling off a trawler 30 miles off the coast.