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Common Salt water fish species

 
Common New Zealand Salt Water Species
 
Red Cod
 
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Red cod are members of the Moridae family (morid cods).
 
They are found throughout New Zealand seas, more commonly in southern waters at depths of 100 to 300 metres, occasionally as deep as 700 metres. Usually found in schools, they migrate from the outer continental shelf to shallow coastal grounds.

Their colouration is Red-brown above, becoming pink on the sides and belly. The dorsal and anal fins are pink with black margins, and there is a black spot at the pectoral fin base. The vivid colour fades to a greyish pink when first captured. The scales are soft and easily removed, and the skin is slimy. The square-tipped tail and black pectoral spot distinguishes them from their close relatives.

Spawning occurs in August, probably in offshore waters. Red cod are fast-growing but short-lived (few older than six years). 

The catch is seasonal, from November to May/June, peaking in January and May. In spring and summer, Red cod are caught inshore before they move to deeper waters in winter. They are caught mainly in the Canterbury Bight and off Westland.
   
Blue Cod
 
Reaching an average length of 30–40cm, up to 60cm and average weights of 0.8–1.5kg, up to 3kg.
 
Blue Cod are a bottom-dwelling fish, endemic to New Zealand. They are common in colder waters from Cook Strait south and around the Chatham Islands. Juveniles are often found in shallow water. Adults are found at depths of up to 150 metres.

Body colour varies depending on age and sex. Large males are more distinctly blue with greenish sides and a golden brown stripe above each eye. Some females are mottled and show a trend towards shades of green. Juveniles are white with a broad band of brown along the side. The species has an elongated body with a smoothly sloping head and snout, short, low first dorsal fin, and long second dorsal fin.

Spawning takes place in the late winter and spring. Young fish return to the shallow reefs in the summer, growing rapidly in the first year and moderately after that.
 
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Hapuku - Groper
 
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Obtain a length of 80–100cm, large specimens reaching 150cm and average weights of 6kg. but reaching weights of up to 20kg.
 
Hapuku are also known as Groper. Hapuku belong to the Percichthyidae family (temperate basses).

Dark blue-grey or grey-brown body above and white below with small scales. The body is robust with a pointed head, protruding lower jaw, and a prominent ridge on the gill cover. Smaller fish are a more distinctive blue.

They are found around New Zealand and the Chatham Islands and on the Chatham Rise. Some inhabit reefs a few metres below the surface, others live at depths of up to 400 metres. Hapuku rarely swim alone and are sometimes found in schools of 30 or more. They migrate but are believed to return to the same caves and rocky clefts for the winter spawning season. Spawning occurs during the winter, often earlier in the north, but the actual spawning grounds are not known. It is thought that after spawning they may then return to the same location. Hapuku are thought to be slow growing and can live to be at least 60 years old.
 
 
Kahawai
 
Length:: 40–55cm, reaching 65cm
Weight:2–3kg, up to 5kg

Kahawai are a pelagic school fish of the Arripidae family (Kahawai). They are found around the New Zealand coast and are often sighted close to shore, frequently schooling by size. Kahawai are migratory along the coast.

Greenish-blue body above, sometimes shading to dark blue or purple, with irregular dark markings and spots, and shading to a silver-white below. The body is streamlined and slightly flattened at the tail. There is a high front dorsal fin joined to the soft dorsal fin by a notch.

Kahawai spawn on the seabed, 60 to 100 metres deep, in late summer. Small juveniles are found in sheltered bays and some estuaries.

The main fishing grounds are around the North Island, in Cook Strait and north of Kaikoura in the South Island.  When caught, they need to be bled and chilled straight away.

There is a related species of Kahawai called Northern kahawai (A. xylabion). They were only recognised as a separate species in the 1990s. The fish are a dark bluish-green with grey spots. At 95 centimeters, they are bigger than the common Kahawai. They are found in northern New Zealand waters and around the Kermadec Islands.


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Red Gurnard
 
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Length: 20–30cm, reaching 50cm
Weight: 0.5–1.4kg, up to 2kg

Red Gurnard belong to the Triglidae family (Gurnards).

They are widespread around New Zealand and are found on sandy shell sea beds to a depth of about 180 metres. Small juveniles prefer shallow waters and are therefore often caught in shallow harbours.

Body is reddish-pink to red above and white below.

The large pectoral fins are bluish-green with one large, dark spot and several small white or blue spots and a blue margin. These fins are split into several sensory rays that are used to locate prey and to enable the fish to move sideways across the sandy bottom in search of prey. The head is bony, and the scales are small.

Spawning extends through the spring and summer, occurring earlier in the north than the south. Juveniles grow rapidly, some are mature at two years and most by four. Females grow faster and are often larger than the males.

Red Gurnard are caught all year around New Zealand (except in Fiordland).
 
Snapper
 
Length: 30–50cm, reaching 100cm
Weight: 1–2.5kg, up to 19kg

Snapper Family

Snapper are members of the Sparidae family (sea breams, snappers).

They are most common around the North Island and upper South Island, especially in Tasman Bay. The species is one of the largest and most valuable coastal fisheries. Snapper extend over a wide variety of habitats, including reefs as well as sand and mud bottoms. Juveniles range over large areas in water five to 50 metres deep. Adults are uncommon at depths of more than 100 metres. They group-spawn several times in spring and summer. The young live inshore in summer, in shallow, sheltered habitats, but move offshore in winter. This movement continues throughout their life. Snapper are slow-growing, long-lived (up to 60 years), and migratory.

Golden-pink to tones of red above, flecked with blue spots, with the colour paling to white on the belly. Snapper found in muddy harbours tend to be pale pink. Snapper found near reefs and weed tend to be a red bronze. Snapper have a large head, strong teeth, and moderately firm scales.

Snapper are caught all year round, but mainly from October to March/April, off both the east and west coasts of the North Island, in Tasman Bay and in Golden Bay. Premium quality fish are caught by rod and long line.
 
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Terakihi
 
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Length: 30–40cm
Weight: 0.9–2.5kg, up to 6kg.

Terakihi belong to the Cheilodactylidae family (terakihi, morwongs) and are common around New Zealand.

They are most abundant south of East Cape, around Cook Strait, and on the east and west coasts of the South Island. They are pelagic as post larvae, bottom dwelling around reefs as juveniles, and school over the open bottom as adults at depths of 100 to 250 metres. In winter, they are found at depths of 50 to 100 metres.

Usually silver-grey with a blue-green sheen, shading to silver and white on the belly. There is a distinctive black band between the head and the dorsal fin. The head and mouth are small, and the laterally compressed body tapers to a forked tail. The scales are moderate and firm.

Spawning takes place in late summer and autumn. The young fish reach 25 centimetres in three or four years, and then grow slowly as adult fish. Many are 10 to 20 years old, and some even reach 50 years of age.

Terakihi are regarded highly by both commercial and recreational fishermen. For many years, they were New Zealand's second most important commercial catch. They are caught around New Zealand throughout the year with catches increasing February to June.
   
Trevally
 
Length: 30–60cm, reaching 70cm
Weight: 0.4–20kg, up to 5kgTrevally belong to the Carangidae family (trevallies, kingfishes).

They are both pelagic and demersal in behavior. Juveniles are found in shallow inshore areas, and from around one year old, the growing fish enter the demersal phase. As adults, they move from the demersal to the pelagic and school at all levels. They grow rapidly, reaching maturity after about five years and can live to 45 years. They feed on krill and other plankton in closely packed surface schools.

They are Blue-green on the top and silvery white on the belly, with a yellowish sheen running along the length of the fish. A small dark blotch often appears on the upper gill cover. The body is deep and laterally compressed with a bluntly rounded head and sickle shaped pectoral fin. Large fish often develop a hump on the head caused by the enlargement of the bony skull crest. The species has small scales and a row of strong scutes at the tail base. Juveniles often have vertical bands of green and gold, which are sometimes also visible on freshly-caught adults.

The species is common around many parts of the North Island and the top half of the South Island. They are most abundant at depths of about 80 metres and are caught throughout the year.
 
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John Dory
 
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Family John dory belong to the Zeidae family (dories). Geographical location They are solitary fish that have a range of habitats, from reefs to sand and mud bottoms. John dory are found in the warm waters around the North Island of New Zealand, most commonly north of the Bay of Plenty. Physical attributes Olive-brown to silver body with green-brown wavy stripes and a distinctive, dark blue spot ringed with white in the centre of each side. John dory have an almost oval-shaped, slender body surrounded by strong spines, a huge mouth, and no scales. They have a high dorsal fin with extended rays. Spawning They spawn in summer. Juveniles have similar colour and form to adults. They grow rapidly, reaching maturity in three to four years and probably live for seven to nine years. Females are usually larger than the males.
 
Orange Roughy
 
Length: 30–40cm
Weight: 0.8–1.6kg, up to 3.5kg

Orange roughy are slow-growing, long-lived fish belonging to the Trachichthyidae family (roughies). There is strong evidence that Orange roughy may live as long as 130 years.

They are widespread in the deep water of most temperate oceans round the world. In New Zealand, they are found at depths of 750 to 1200 metres on the Chatham Rise, off the continental shelf from Gisborne to Kaikoura, off south Westland, and on parts of the Challenger Plateau off the West Coast.

Reddish body that fades to a distinctive orange after capture with a bluish tinge in the belly area. The species has a deep body with conspicuous bony ridges and massive head. The lateral line scales are larger than the small and irregular body scales.
 
Spawning occurs in dense aggregations between June and early August, in several areas from Bay of Plenty to the Auckland Islands.

They are caught year-round by trawling. Fish are deep-skinned to remove a layer of inedible, oily wax under the skin.

There are three related non-commercial species found in New Zealand. These are Silver roughy (H. mediterraneus), Common roughy (Paratrachichtys trailli), and Slender roughy (Optivus elongatus).
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Yellowtail Kingfish
 
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Yellowtail kingfish are part of a group of kingfish found around the Southern Hemisphere, and belong to the Carangidae family (trevallies, kingfishes).

Yellowtail kingfish are widely distributed around the North Island and the northern South Island. They are roving carnivores and an open-water fish, although they do enter shallow bays, harbours, and estuaries looking for food.

They spawn in open coastal waters during the summer and are thought to migrate, particularly as young adults. There is a tendency to school by age, while old Yellowtail kingfish are more solitary and less migratory.

Blue-green on the upper side with a silver-white belly. A yellow-to-brass coloured strip runs along the middle of the fish from the eye to the tail. The fins and tail are yellow. The body is torpedo-shaped with a small first dorsal fin, small scales, small tail-based scutes, and a large mouth that stretches back to a small eye.

Yellowtail kingfish are regarded as a sashimi grade fish by the Japanese, who farm their local species in sea cages. Commercially, the species is caught by trolling, set net, purse seine, or trawl, often as a by-catch. When caught on a rod, they provide a wonderful fishing experience.
 
 
Rig
 
Rig belong to the Triakidae family (smooth dogfish). 
 
They are found around New Zealand, usually in water no more than 200 metres deep. In spring and summer, they congregate in large numbers in broad shallow bays. In autumn, they migrate to the outer shelf. Most Rig make extensive coastal migrations.
 
The females appear to travel the greatest distance-often up to 200 kilometres.
Pale golden-brown to grey body above with numerous small blue and white spots and white below. There are no spines or dorsal fins.
 
Most females breed every year. Following a 10 to 11 month gestation period, Rig give birth in shallow coastal waters in spring and summer. Their young are born in litters of 10 to 20 pups measuring 30 centimetres. Juveniles disappear into deeper waters when the temperatures drop in autumn. Their growth rate is relatively rapid, Rig reach maturity at four to five years.
 
Rig are mainly caught in coastal waters throughout New Zealand after their spring migration.
 
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Other species that may be caught in New Zealand waters include:
Elephant Fish
Skipjack Tuna
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Southern Bluefin Tuna
Kingfish
Black Marlin
Yellowfin Tuna
Sailfish
Broadbill Swordfish
  
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