Dried salt cod was a major item of export from New England to the rest of the world. After the cod were caught, they were filleted and covered with salt. These salted fillets were then placed on drying racks where the sun and air dried them. The drying and salting preserved the fish so that it could be shipped to the West Indies and elsewhere across the ocean as well as to inland towns. These cod are much smaller than cod would have been in the 18th century. Large cod have almost disappeared from the fishing areas off the coast of New England.