New Zealand’s Favourite Fish

New Zealand’s Favourite Fish

Kiwis love their fish! Seafood is a staple for New Zealanders year-round, but it’s never more popular than in the summer when there’s nothing better than home-caught fish, battered and fried, served alongside homemade wedges.

Since fishing is one of most New Zealander’s preferred past-times, we did a little digging and decided to rank the popularity of fish among recreational Kiwi fisher folk. 

#1 Snapper 

We’re probably not blowing anyone’s mind when we declare snapper as the most popular fish among Kiwis. The beautiful fish, with its pink top and silver underbelly, are plentiful in our seas, especially in the North Island and nowhere more so than in the Hauraki Gulf. When cooked, their soft, relatively bone-free meat is delicious: perfect for everything from simple fish and chips to an exotic fish curry.

Warning: they’re not called snapper for nothing! These fish have huge molars and will really clamp down if you put your finger in their mouth. 

#2 Kahawai 

New Zealander’s second favourite fish to catch is kahawai. These guys enjoy swimming around coastal areas, harbours and estuaries on both the North and South Island.

Kiwis love to catch kahawai; they take bait easily, swim around in large schools – and really put up a fight!. These fellas can grow up to 65cm and, we reckon, are best eaten smoked! 

#3 Blue Cod 

New Zealander’s third most popular fish to catch recreationally might surprise you: it’s blue cod. Blue cod are bottom-dwelling fish that are only found in the sea surrounding New Zealand, primarily in the South Island.

Fun fact: blue cod can alter their gender, changing from female to male when need be. 

Notable Mention: Kingfish 

Kingfish didn’t make the top three list, but they’re still a favourable fresh catch. Interestingly, almost three-quarters of the kingfish caught in New Zealand seas is caught by those of us out on the water just having a bit of fun.

Kingies are large fish, growing over 1.5 metres long with weights as high as 30 kg!

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