Māori Name: Hapuku
Availability: October to May
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. Hapuku are also known as Groper.
80 - 100cm reaching 150cm
The 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. 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.