Groper

Maori name: hapuku
Scientific name: Polyprion oxygeneios
Availability: October to May
Weight: 6kg average, up to 20kg
Length: 80–100cm, reaching 150cm

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.  Groper are also known as Hapuku.

Groper

Maori name: hapuku
Scientific name: Polyprion oxygeneios
Availability: October to May
Weight: 6kg average, up to 20kg
Length: 80–100cm, reaching 150cm
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General

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.  Groper are also known as Hapuku.

Location

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.

Attributes

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.

Family

Hapuku are also known as Groper. Hapuku belong to the Percichthyidae family (temperate basses).

Spawning

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.

Sustainability

The groper (or hapuku) fishery includes <i>Polyprion oxygeneios</i> and <i>Polyprion americanus</i> (bass) in different proportions by region, depth, fishing method and season. Current research on groper is focussed on gaining a better understanding of the distribution of the two species and relative catches of each. This is being addressed by work to ensure separation of the catches in commerical catch returns. Genetic research on hapuku has indicated that the west coast South Island stock is distinct from the remainder of the New Zealand stock and may mix with the Australian stock. &nbsp;In recent decades, commercial catch rates have varied without a long term trend, but interpretation of these indices is complicated by the small scale fisheries and species mix involved.

Fishing methods

Hapuku are caught around New Zealand most commonly over or near rocky areas to depths of 250 metres. In particular, they are caught off the east coast of the North Island, in Cook Strait, off Kaikoura, and off the west coast of the South Island. They are caught year-round, peaking during the mid-winter spawning season.

Nutrition

Groper is a good source

To quality for a 'good source' claim the food must contain at least 25% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Selenium

Selenium is necessary for normal immune system function and for the production of thyroid hormones and it contributes to the maintenance of hair and nails

and Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal neurological function and it contributes to blood formation, energy metabolism and to the growth and development in children

; and a source

To quality for a 'source' claim the food must contain at least 10% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Iodine

Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, for normal neurological function and for normal energy metabolism, and it contributes to the growth and development in children

, Phosphorus

Phosphorus is necessary for normal teeth, bone and cell membrane structure and for energy metabolism

, Potassium

Potassium is necessary for water and electrolyte balance, it contributes to the functioning of the nervous system and normal muscle function; and to the normal growth and development of children

and Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin (vitamin B3) is necessary for the release of energy from food and for the normal structure and function of skin and mucous membranes, and contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

.

Seafood is a highly nutritious food and is a great source of protein

Protein is necessary for tissue building and repair, normal growth and development of bone in children and adolescents aged 4 years and over, and contributes to growth and maintenance of muscle mass

. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are a good source of Omega 3

Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids that contribute to heart health

.

Tips

Groper flesh is firm and white with few bones. Treat your groper with care to preserve its delicate flavour and succulence – allow it to be the star of your dish, rather than any accompanying sauce. Groper makes wonderful steaks, remains moist with heavy flakes when cooked and smokes well. Bake; steam; panfry, poach, bbq; or smoke groper.

Buying & Storage Tips

When buying groper/hapuku, always check the...
EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil
GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills
SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen

When buying groper/hapuku fillets, always check the...
FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy

If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.