Dories are fine table fishes, readily available freshly chilled and frozen all year round.

They have succulent, white, sweet and finely textured flesh that can be baked, grilled, barbecued, fried, steamed or poached.

Dory fillets are delicate and often best coated or wrapped in foil for cooking.

image of Mirror Dory on ice


image icon of a fishing boat Fishing mortality
Not subject to overfishing
image icon of a fish Biomass
Not overfished


Scientific name: Zenopsis nebulosa

Family: Zeidae

Other names: Deepsea dory, mirror perch, trawl dory, silver dory

Description: Mirror dory have highly compressed plate-like bodies with large heads and large telescopic mouths. The body is silver-grey with a large faint greyish blotch on the sides. They are mostly scaleless. The fins are spiny.

Size (length and weight): Up to 70 cm in length and 3 kg. Commonly found at 40‑50 cm in length and 0.7‑1.2 kg.

Life span: Up to 12 years.

Habitat: Mirror dory are a demersal species that lives close to the sea bed in coastal and continental shelf waters. They can be found at depths of 50‑600 metres. Mirror dory are thought to be generally solitary. Sometimes found in association with gemfish.

Prey: Fish such as jack mackerel, crustaceans and molluscs.

Predators: Sharks, large bony fish and potentially marine mammals such as dolphins.

Reproduction: Mirror dory reach reproductive maturity at about 5 years of age. Spawning occurs over an extended period in winter. Mirror dory aggregate for spawning in waters along the New South Wales upper slope. Fecundity is thought to be low, with the possibility of serial spawning.


Fishery found inGear usedCatch of this species is targeted or incidental
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark FisheryBottom trawlIncidental

Management of catch

Mirror dory are predominantly caught incidentally. The Commonwealth catch of mirror dory is managed by quota. This means the catch of this fish by commercial fishers is restricted by weight. AFMA also restricts the number of boats and the type and amount of gear that can be used to fish for mirror dory.

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.

For more information about mirror dory stock assessment, refer t the Tier 4 stock assessments 2018.

Area caught

In Commonwealth waters, mirror dory are predominantly caught in waters off the southern half of Australia at a depth of 350-550 metres on the continental shelf and slope close to the sea bed.

Fishing gear and environmental impacts

Fishers use trawl nets to catch mirror dory.

Sometimes, bottom trawling can catch unwanted species of fish (not the type of fish the net was supposed to catch). This is known as bycatch and it is monitored by on-board fishery observers who assess the environmental impact of the trawling.

Although it is not physically possible to trawl on reef structures, significant long-term damage can occur if sensitive habitat areas like corals, sponges and seagrass beds are trawled. To ensure these sensitive habitat areas are protected from trawling, management arrangements such as area closures are extensively used.

To reduce the impacts of fishing on the environment, AFMA have a number of management arrangements and strategies in place including:

  • minimum mesh sizes for otter trawls to reduce the catch of small and juvenile fish
  • mitigation devices to reduce interactions with threatened endangered and protected species
  • closing some areas to fishing to protect vulnerable species and habitats.

Want to know more?

This is just an overview of mirror dory, if you want to know more see the links below:

Sustainability – see the most recent Fishery status report

Management – this fish is managed under the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery

Expert adviceSouth East Resource Assessment Group and the South East Management Advisory Committee

Environmental impactsBycatch and discard program