Name Scientific: Nemadactylus macropterus
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 0.9–2.5kg, up to 6kg
Attributes Length: 30–40cm
They are most abundant south of East Cape, around Cook Strait, and on the east and west coasts of the South Island.They are pelagic as post larvae, bottom dwelling around reefs as juveniles, and school over the open bottom as adults at depths of 100 to 250 metres. In winter, they are found at depths of 50 to 100 metres.
Usually silver-grey with a blue-green sheen, shading to silver and white on the belly. There is a distinctive black band between the head and the dorsal fin. The head and mouth are small, and the laterally compressed body tapers to a forked tail. The scales are moderate and firm.
Tarakihi belong to the Cheilodactylidae family (terakihi, morwongs) and are common around New Zealand.
Spawning takes place in late summer and autumn. The young fish reach 25 centimetres in three or four years, and then grow slowly as adult fish. Many are 10 to 20 years old, and some even reach 50 years of age.
Tarakihi have been fished commercially in New Zealand for more than 100 years. Commercial catch levels have been fairly stable at 3,500 to 6,500 tonnes annually since 1945, with some short-term fluctuations and regional variations. Tarakihi abundance is regularly monitored using commercial catch rate and trawl survey information.
Tarakihi are regarded highly by both commercial and recreational fishermen. For many years, they were New Zealand's second most important commercial catch. They are caught around New Zealand throughout the year with catches increasing February to June, mainly by trawling.
Did You Know
Tarakihi is one of the top fish for Kiwi consumers. For many years, it was New Zealand's second most important commercial catch.
Tarakihi has medium to firm white moist flesh, suitable for most cooking methods. It can be used in a delicate or strongly flavoured dish. Bake; bbq; curry; fry; poach; marinate; soup/chowder; sushi/raw.
When buying whole tarakihi, 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 tarakihi fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.