Name Scientific: Evechinus chloroticus
Availability: August to January
Attributes Length: Diameter: 8.5–15.0cm
The species is found only in New Zealand, but there are about 500 species of sea urchins worldwide. Kina are widespread along New Zealand coasts down to 50 metres, with the main concentrations found between the sub-tidal zone and 15 metres. In some places, population densities reach over 50 adults per square metre.
Hard, spherical shell covered in dark brownish-green spines. Inside is a star-shaped mass of yellow to orange-coloured gonads in the males and roe in the females. Both are sold as roe, which is the edible part. Kina is sought for its delicate, smooth, buttery roe. The male roe is silkier, the female roe is slightly more grainy.
Kina belongs to the Echinometridae family (sea urchins).
The main spawning season is from February to March.
South Island kina were introduced into the Quota Management System in 2002, with the North Island fishery following suit the following year. They are an important recreational and customary fishery. Kina biology has been studied extensively but biomass estimates are currently only available for a few localities.
The best harvest time is from August to January.
Did You Know
The kina's mouth has a distinctive five-sided structure, known as Aristotle's lantern - from Aristotle's description of a sea urchin. The kina uses this like a set of teeth to grind up its food.
Kina is prized for its delicate, smooth, buttery roe; the male roe is silkier, while the female roe is slightly more grainy.
Kina are available as whole sea eggs or roe in pottles. They should smell pleasantly briny but not overly pungent. Kina can vary in colour.