Maori Name: Kahawai
Latin Name: Arripis trutta, A. xlabion
Weight: 2–3kg, up to 5kg
Length: Length: 40–55cm, reaching 65cmFamily:
Kahawai are a pelagic school fish of the Arripidae family (kahawai).
Northern kahawai (A. xylabion) was only recognised as a separate species in the 1990s. The fish are a dark bluish-green with grey spots. At 95 centimetres, they are bigger than the common kahawai. They are found in northern New Zealand waters and around the Kermadec Islands.
They are found around the New Zealand coast and are often sighted close to shore, frequently schooling by size. Kahawai are migratory along the coast.
Sustainability of this New Zealand fish stock is ensured through the world-leading Fisheries Act and Quota Management System (QMS). The QMS guides the sustainable use of New Zealand fisheries. Find out what the QMS is and how it works.
The main fishing grounds are around the North Island, in Cook Strait and north of Kaikoura in the South Island. Commercially, most kahawai are caught by purse seine year-round, but are often targeted in the winter when the skipjack tuna have moved north. When caught, they need to be bled and chilled.
Kahawai flesh is dark-coloured with medium to thick flakes. It is popular as a smoked fish. Try it;
- in a curry
Kahawai feed en masse by herding baitfish to the surface. The foaming waters attract throngs of seabirds, particularly terns and shearwaters, to the conveniently arranged feast.
Kahawai is a good source of Vitamin D,Vitamin B12 and Selenium; and a source of Iodine, Niacin (vitamin B3), Iron, Vitamin A and Phosphorus.
Seafood is a highly nutritious food and is a great source of protein. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are a goodsource of Omega 3.