Māori Name: Hoki
Name Scientific: Macruronus novaezelandiae
Availability: Caught year-round. Main season June to September, particularly off the West Coast.
Attributes Weight: 0.5–3.5kg
Attributes Length: 60–100cm
They generally live beyond the shelf edge and are most abundant between 300 to 600 metres. Adult fish have been found at depths from 50 metres down to 900 metres. The juveniles often live in shallower water, where growth is rapid. Adults are between five and 20 years old.
Dark purple-blue along the back, shading to paler iridescent blue on the upper side and mirror-like silver below. The fins are dark grey. Hoki have an easily recognisable long, thin body with a tapering tail fringed by dorsal and anal fins. The eyes and jaws are large. The teeth small and sharp.
Hoki belong to the Merlucciidae family (hakes).
Major winter spawning grounds include off the west coast of the South Island, particularly in the Hokitika Canyon, and in Cook Strait. Hoki are also found off the coast of South Australia and a related species, Macruronus magellenicus, is found off South America.
New Zealand hoki is considered one of the best managed trawl fisheries in the world, certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the global gold standard for sustainability, in March 2001, recertified in October 2007 and again in August 2012. The hoki fishery was initiated in the early 1970s. In 1977 the catch reached 100,000 tonnes, dropping significantly the following year when the Exclusive Economic Zone was declared and catch limits introduced. Hoki was introduced into the Quota Management System in 1986 with a total allowable commercial catch of 250,000 tonnes, although catches did not reach this level until the late 1990s. The two biological stocks of hoki are subject to extensive scientific monitoring, with up to 3 research surveys completed every year and an annual stock assessment. Both stocks are currently assessed as being at or above target levels, and catch limits have been increased as a result.
They are one of New Zealand's most important commercial deepwater species. Hoki are caught by trawling all around New Zealand, and are most common off the South Island on the Chatham Rise, Campbell Plateau and in Cook Strait.
Did You Know
Hoki's easy-flaking and mild-tasting flesh makes it particularly suitable for popular fast-food products like fish fingers and fish burgers.
Hoki has delicate white flesh and is suitable for most methods of cooking (except pan frying crumbed or battered hoki) as the fillet flakes easily. Fresh fillets are ideally suited for use in fish cakes, a fish pie, curry or chowder. Frozen hoki is a convenient option to consider.
When buying whole hoki, always check the... EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills SKIN: Bright, silver with a luminous sheen When buying hoki fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.