Māori Name: Pūwhara
Name Scientific: Kathetostoma giganteum
Monkfish/stargazer are found throughout New Zealand waters to depths of up to 500m. They are most plentiful around the South Island and on the Chatham Rise. Monkfish/stargazer have an annual reproductive cycle with a winter spawning season. Commercial catch levels have fluctuated around 2,000 - 4,200 tonnes since the late 1980s. The abundance of monkfish/ stargazer around the South Island, as monitored by catch rates and trawl surveys, has been broadly stable over the last two decades.
Monkfish/stargazer flesh is firm, succulent and pearly white, with a low oil content. It is suited to baking; barbeques; poaching; steaming; use in a soup/chowder; or frying. Its appearance can be off-putting to some. This was the case in South Korea until the 1940s when a shortage of other fish caused the need to take a second look. Fishers challenged their local cooks to create a dish tasty enough to overcome the ugly factor. The result is 'agujiim', a spicy delicacy.
When buying whole monkfish/stargazer, 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 monkfish/stargazer fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.