On-board live storage of Atlantic cod caught by trawl was evaluated as a potential method to improve the color characteristics of fillets. Before slaughter and processing, the fish were: (i) stored live for 3–6 h, (ii) kept in dry bin, or (iii) stored on deck for 5 h post capture (without bleeding). Blood chemistry and white muscle biochemistry were determined after capture and live storage. Fillet color and presence of discolorations were assessed on board (fresh) and after frozen storage (market quality). All fish were considerably stressed by capture and did not recover to baseline levels after live storage. Processing just after capture, live or dry bin storage, resulted in fillets with good color characteristics. Delayed processing (5 h) resulted in fillets with inferior color characteristics. The color characteristics of fillets evaluated on board and after frozen storage followed a similar pattern, although fillets from all treatments exhibited a more yellowish tint after frozen storage. Under the present catch and processing conditions, live storage on board did not improve the color characteristics of cod fillets. Color analysis indicated that consumers would only be able to identify worst-case fillets cut from unbled fish as being inferior to fillets from all other treatments.