Kahawai: Quick Facts

Scientific name: Arripis trutta

Other names: koopuuhuri, kooukauka (Maori), Australian salmon (Australia), Saumon Australien (France), bangeo (Korea), oki susuki (Japan).

Ranking: D (Amber - Concerns)

Best Fish Guide: Kahawai

 Ranking: D (Amber - Concerns)

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Alternative choice: Best choice, no alternative

NZ Top Chef Lauraine Jacob's Tea smoked kahawai

Description: Kahawai are found throughout New Zealand, but are most common north of Kaikoura. They form schools of similar-sized fish, with juveniles found in shallow coastal waters and adults in open water, often in large schools from seafloor to surface waters. Most kahawai are caught in purse seine fisheries that also target skipjack tuna, jack mackerel and blue mackerel. A lesser proportion is caught seasonally in set net and mixed species trawl fisheries. Kahawai is a particularly important species for recreational and customary fisheries.

Ecological concerns: The uncertain maximum sustainable yield, unknown status of stocks, stock structure and stock trends, the bycatch of non-target fish and the lack of a management plan. Limited past research and the ecological effects of removing this important prey species is also of concern.

Economic value: Exports of $1.5m mainly to Australia (in 2008).

Best option: Fish caught using purse seine – avoid Kahawai caught using set net or trawl.


Biology and risk of overfishing (score C)
Status and sustainability of fish catches (score C)
Impact of fishing method and protected, threatened and endangered species captures (score B and B)
Management and management unit (score D and D)

For a full ecological assessment click here