Kahawai

Maori name: Kahawai
Scientific name: Arripis trutta, A. xlabion
Availability: Year-round. Often targeted in winter when skipjack tuna have moved north.
Weight: 2–3kg, up to 5kg
Length: Length: 40–55cm, reaching 65cm

Kahawai

Maori name: Kahawai
Scientific name: Arripis trutta, A. xlabion
Availability: Year-round. Often targeted in winter when skipjack tuna have moved north.
Weight: 2–3kg, up to 5kg
Length: Length: 40–55cm, reaching 65cm
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Location

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.

Attributes

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.

Family

Kahawai are a pelagic school fish of the Arripidae family (kahawai).

 

Related species:

 

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

Spawning

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

Sustainability

Kahawai has been managed under the Quota Management System (QMS) since its introduction in 2004.

Fishing methods

The main fishing grounds are around the North Island, in Cook Strait and north of Kaikoura in the South Island. Commercially, most Kahawai are caught by purse seine year-round, but are often targeted in the winter when the Skipjack tuna have moved north. When caught, they need to be bled and chilled.

Nutrition

Kahawai 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 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone structure and the utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and it contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth

, 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 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 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

, 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

, Iron

Iron is necessary for the transport oxygen, for normal immune system function and for normal neurological development in the foetus, and it contributes to energy production and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

, Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary for normal vision and the structure and function of skin and mucous membranes

and Phosphorus

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

.

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

Kahawai flesh is dark-coloured with medium to thick flakes. It is popular as a smoked fish but can also be baked; marinated; poached; fried or used in a curry.

Buying & Storage Tips

When buying whole kahawai, 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 kahawai fillets, always check the...
FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy

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