Māori Name: kuparu
Name Scientific: Zeus faber
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 0.8–1.5kg, up to 3.5kg
Attributes Length: 30–40cm
They are solitary fish that have a range of habitats, from reefs to sand and mud bottoms. John Dory are found in the warm waters around the North Island of New Zealand, most commonly north of the Bay of Plenty.
Olive-brown to silver body with green-brown wavy stripes and a distinctive, dark blue spot ringed with white in the centre of each side. John Dory have an almost oval-shaped, slender body surrounded by strong spines, a huge mouth, and no scales. They have a high dorsal fin with extended rays.
John Dory belong to the Zeidae family (dories).
They spawn in summer. Juveniles have similar colour and form to adults. They grow rapidly, reaching maturity in three to four years and probably live for seven to nine years. Females are usually larger than the males.
John Dory are widespread, being found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and around New Zealand, Australia and Japan. They are common in the inshore coastal waters of northern New Zealand, and to a lesser extent in Tasman Bay. Recent analysis suggests five biological stocks in New Zealand waters. John Dory abundance is monitored using commercial catch rates and, in some areas, trawl surveys. Cyclical patterns in abundance are evident in some areas. Catch rates in the north east fishery are currently below the long term average, whereas in the Bay of Plenty and west coast North Island fisheries catch rates in recent decades have fluctuated without trend around the long term average. The southern fisheries have seen more pronounced cycles in abundance. The south east North Island fishery currently has below average catch rates, while the northern South Island fishery is above the long term average.
They are caught year-round in coastal waters off northern New Zealand, often in mixed species trawl catches of Snapper and Tarakihi, and by Danish seiners.
Did You Know
John Dory's thin profile front-on helps it sneak up on prey. Its large eyes at the front of its head give it bifocal vision - another helpful attribute in sizing up the whereabouts of the next meal.
John Dory flesh is white when cooked, with medium flakes. Fillets can be boned easily in this medium to firm textured fish. Bake; fry; marinate; poach; sushi/raw.
John Dory is often available whole, but fillets and frozen John Dory are also in the market. When buying whole John Dory, 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 John Dory fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.