Blue-eye trevalla, also known as blue-eye cod, is considered by many people to be one of the finest table fish caught in southern waters.
It is a very versatile and popular fish, due to its firm, moist and delicately flavoured white flesh. Fillets are best enjoyed grilled or fried.
Scientific name: Hyperoglyphe antarctica, Schedophilus labyrinthica
- H. antarctica: Bluenose, big-eye, blue-eye, blue-eye cod, bluenose warehou, deep sea trevalla, sea trevally
- S. labyrinthica: Ocean blue-eye, violet warehou, labyrinth fish, black butterfish
Description: The blue-eye trevallas are stout-bodied fish with a blunt snout and small scales. The first dorsal fin is short with stout spines and is joined by membrane to the base of the taller second dorsal fin.
- H. antarctica: The body is bluish grey on the back and fade to grey on the belly. The fins are a dark metallic grey. H. antarctica have large, deep, blue eyes with a gold ring around them.
- S. labyrinthica: The body is dark green on the back with a silvery appearance. The fins are a dark metallic grey, fading to a dark brownish black along the edges.
Size (length and weight): Up to 1.4 metres in length and 50 kg. Commonly found at about 60 cm in length and 3 kg.
Life span: Up to 76 years.
Habitat: The blue-eye trevallas are benthic species that are associated with rocky ground on continental slopes. H. antarctica are usually found at depths of 200‑900 metres. S. labyrinthica are usually found at depths of 40‑500 metres and are more strongly associated with ocean seamounts. Juvenile H. antarctica can be found in surface waters, sometimes in association with floating debris. H. antarctica generally remain close to the sea bed during the day and move up into the water column at night. Little is known about the biology of S. labyrinthica but it is thought to be similar to blue-eye.
Prey: Pelagic tunicates, squid, molluscs, crustaceans, and fish ranging from small species (e.g. lanternfish) to large species (e.g. gemfish).
Predators: Uncertain. Catch loss occurs to sharks and marine mammals such as orcas in some areas.
Reproduction: Female blue-eye trevalla (H. antarctica) reach reproductive maturity at 11-12 years of age, with males maturing at 8-9 years of age. Spawning occurs in summer and autumn. Mature fish are thought to move into shallower waters and aggregate over specific areas for spawning. Most spawning activity occurs in waters from central New South Wales to north-eastern Tasmania. Eggs are released in 3‑4 batches. Females produce 2-11 million eggs per spawning season.
The reproductive biology of ocean blue-eye (S. labyrinthica) is thought to be similar to blue-eye trevalla (H. anatarctica).
Other notes: S. labyrinthica is sometimes referred to as S. velaini.
|Fishery found in||Gear used||Catch of the species is targeted or incidental|
|High Seas||Bottom and midwater trawl||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery||Bottom longline and dropline||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery||Bottom trawl||Targeted|
|Recreational||Rod and line||Targeted|
Management of catch
The Commonwealth catch of Blue-eye trevalla around Australia is managed by quota.
Blue-eye trevalla can also be caught in the High Seas area. Australian boats fishing for blue-eye trevalla in this area are limited in how much they can catch and where they can fish. They must have a High Seas permit authorised by AFMA.
On the High Seas, fishers are restricted to areas that have been fished before. Also, if evidence of vulnerable corals and sponges are found, they must stop fishing and move bottom fishing activities five nautical miles away from the area.
AFMA decide on the amount that can be caught each year from expert advice and recommendations from fisheries managers, industry members, scientist and researchers.
Commercial fishermen are required to fill in records of their catches, during each fishing trip and when they land their catch in a port. This helps us keep records of how much is being caught.
Blue-eye trevalla is a deepwater fish that lives near the bottom during the day and moves to the bottom at night. It is often found in continental shelf and upper slope waters at depths from 100-600 metres and on seamounts and undersea features.
Blue-eye trevalla is found from Perth to the NSW/ Queensland border and is also caught in the high seas.
Fishing gear and environmental impacts
There are low levels of bycatch associated with the catching of blue-eye trevalla. However, when using longline methods interactions with gulper sharks may occur.
To address the issues with gulper shark interactions the Upper Slope Dogfish Management Strategy 2012 was implemented. The strategy has a series of closures and a range of complementary management arrangements to mitigate these interactions.
Fishing in the high seas requires fishers to move bottom fishing activities 5 nm away from any area where vulnerable corals and sponges are found.