Kahawai: The Popular Fish Species of New Zealand


Kahawai is a popular fish species in New Zealand waters. It is a member the mackerel family. It is well-known for its fighting skills, making it a favorite of anglers. Kahawai is a significant commercial fish species in New Zealand. Its meat can be used for a variety purposes.

Description of Kahawai

Kahawai is a species of pelagic fish, meaning it lives in open water and is not near the seabed. The Kahawai is a medium-sized fish with a length of approximately 50cm and a weight between 1-2kg. Kahawai is a slim and lean fish with a greenish-blue back and silver sides and belly.

Kahawai is a large, pointed-headed fish with sharp teeth and a large, open mouth. The fins of Kahawai are distinctive. They have a short dorsal fin located in front of the body, and a long anal fin that runs almost all the length of the body. Kahawai’s tail fin, which is forked, provides swimming speed and agility.

Distribution and Habitat for Kahawai

Kahawai can be found in the coast waters of New Zealand, Australia, as well as the Pacific Islands. It lives inshore and offshore waters and eats plankton and small fish. Kahawai is a highly mobile species and its movements are affected primarily by ocean currents and water temperatures.

Kahawai can be found in many habitats including sandy beaches, river mouths and estuaries, as well as rocky reefs and sandy beaches. It can also be seen following schools of baitfish that can bring it close to shore where anglers can catch it.

Kahawai’s Feeding Habits

Kahawai is an opportunistic feeder. This means it will eat a variety of prey depending upon what is available. It eats small fish like pilchards and anchovies as well as crustaceans and squid.

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Kahawai are known for their voracious appetite and will often eat aggressively in schools. Kahawai are known to chase and herd baitfish towards the surface during feeding frenzy, where they can easily be preyed upon.

Fishing for Kahawai

Kahawai are a popular target for recreational anglers who fish from small boats or the shore. Kahawai can also be caught by trolling, spinning, or bait fishing.

Trolling is the act of dragging lures behind a moving boat. Spinning involves casting softbaits or lures from shore or from a boat. Bait fishing is another popular option. Shellfish, pilchards and squid are all common baits.

Cooking and eating Kahawai

Kahawai is a great food fish. Its meat is firm, pale, and oily. Kahawai is often compared with salmon because of its similar texture and flavor. Kahawai can also be prepared in a variety ways, such as baking, grilling, smoking, smoking, or frying.

Smoking Kahawai gives it a unique, smoky flavor. You can also grill, bake, or fry it in a batter or crumb coat.

Kahawai’s Commercial Importance

Kahawai is a significant commercial fish species in New Zealand. It is used for a variety purposes. Its meat can be used in a variety of products including fish fingers, canned fish, and fish cakes. Kahawai can also be used as bait because of its oily flesh, which makes it an effective attractant to other fish.

Kahawai are caught using a variety of commercial fishing methods including purse seining, trawling, and gillnetting. The New Zealand government manages Kahawai’s commercial fishing, with quota systems to ensure sustainability.

Conservation Status of Kahawai

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated Kahawai as a species of least concern. This means that it isn’t at risk of extinction. However, there are concerns regarding the sustainability of the fishery in New Zealand, where it is heavily harvested.

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To ensure the sustainability and viability of the Kahawai fishery the New Zealand government has taken a variety of measures, including quota management, size limits and gear restrictions. These measures are intended to protect the fishery and ensure that Kahawai is a healthy and abundant species in New Zealand’s waters.


Kahawai, a New Zealand fish species that is highly valued for its fighting abilities and excellent food properties, is a popular and important species. The New Zealand government carefully manages this species to ensure it is sustainable and plentiful for future generations. Kahawai is an excellent fish species to learn, whether you are an angler, a seafood enthusiast, or just interested in the natural world.

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