Māori Name: mākataharaki
Name Scientific: Rexea solandri
Availability: Year round, main season February to July
Attributes Weight: 2–5kg, up to 15kg
Attributes Length: 60–90cm, reaching over 175cm
They are found within a wide depth range of between 50 and 550 metres on the continental shelf, and sometimes as deep as 800 metres. They are voracious predators that feed on a wide variety of squid and fish.
Back and head have blue tones with a darker stripe along the back. The body shades to iridescent dark silver with paler white on the belly. The skin is smooth and shimmering. The dorsal fin has a prominent black blotch on the membrane between the first three spines. Gemfish are distinguished from Barracouta (of the same family) by a deeper body, more silvery skin, and two lateral lines. Like Barracouta, they have extremely sharp teeth that should be avoided when handling the fish, either alive or dead.
Gemfish belong to the Gempylidae family (snake mackerels).
Small juveniles and adults occur seasonally in some grounds and often school together. They are thought to undertake spawning and pre-spawning runs, and these form the basis of the target fisheries in winter.
A Quota Management species Gemfish are usually caught by trawlers in coastal waters around mainland New Zealand. The main season is February to July, but they can be caught year-round. Target fisheries are off the northern and eastern coasts of the North Island.
Gemfish are usually caught by trawlers in coastal waters around mainland New Zealand. The main season is February to July, but they can be caught year-round. Target fisheries are off the northern and eastern coasts of the North Island.
Did You Know
Gemfish are fast-swimming, voracious predators with strong jaws and knife-like teeth, which should be avoided when handling the fish, either dead or alive.