Blue grenadier is a bluish silver colour with dark blue fins. It has a long, slender cod-like body with tiny scales.
Blue grenadier has a delicate, sweet, flavour, with moist flesh that flakes easily. It is most suited to frying or baking because of the low oiliness of the species, but it is also excellent for grilling or barbecuing.
Download our species guide on common species caught in AFMA managed fisheries.
FOR THE 2021-22 SEASON
Scientific name: Macruronus novaezelandiae
Other names: Hoki, blue hake, whiptail
Description: Blue grenadier is a very elongate, compressed fish with a tapering tail. The dorsal and anal fins merge into the tail fin. They have bluish silver backs, silvery belly, and dark blue fins. Blue grenadier have a large mouth and tiny scales.
Size (length and weight): Up to 1.2 metres in length and 6 kg. Commonly found at 0.6‑1 metre in length and 1‑3.5 kg. Females grow slower but become larger than males.
Life span: Up to 25 years. Females live longer than males.
Habitat: Blue grenadier are a deepwater species that occurs on the continental slope. They can be found at depths of 200‑700 metres. Juveniles often occur in shallower bays and inlets. Blue grenadier aggregate near the sea bed during the day and move up into the water column at night.
Prey: Other fish (particularly lanternfish), squids and crustaceans.
Predators: Pink ling.
Reproduction: Most blue grenadier reach reproductive maturity at 4-7 years of age. Spawning occurs in winter and early spring. The main spawning ground for blue grenadier is on the west coast of Tasmania. Females release about 1 million eggs in a single spawning event.
|Fishery found in||Gear used||Catch of this species is targeted or incidental|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – South East Trawl Sector||Bottom trawl||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – South East Trawl Winter Sector||Bottom and midwater trawl||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector||Longline and dropline||Incidental|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector||Bottom trawl||Incidental|
Management of catch
The Commonwealth catch of blue grenadier is managed by:
- quota (restricted by weight)
- the number of boats allowed to fish
- the area open to fishing
- gear type and amount.
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.
AFMA decide on the amount that can be caught each year from expert advice and recommendations from fisheries managers, industry members, scientist and researchers.
Blue grenadier is a deepwater fish but migrates into the water column during the night. Adults are found on the continental slope in depths of 200-700 metres, and juveniles in southern Tasmanian bays and inlets.
Blue grenadier is found in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern Western Australia however they are mainly caught off western and eastern Tasmania.
The majority of blue grenadier catches come from western Tasmanian waters during the winter.
Fishing gear and environmental impacts
Sometimes fishing interactions may take place with seabirds. To try and reduce these interactions, it is mandatory for all trawl boats in the fishery catching blue grenadier to apply a vessel specific seabird management plan.
To protected seals and dolphins, freezer trawl boats are required to use seal exclusion devices.
Bottom trawl gear can sometimes impact bycatch species and habitats. Management arrangements and strategies to reduce the impact of fishing on the environment include:
- a minimum mesh size for bottom trawls to reduce the catch of small and juvenile fish
- mitigation devices to reduce interactions with threatened endangered and protected species
- area closures to protect vulnerable species and habitats.