Smooth oreodory have few or no bones, rounded fillets and a light, delicate flavour. It holds together well under most cooking methods.

Although smooth oreodory is much like the dories and can be cooked in a similar way, the skin is usually very tough and must be removed. If cooked with the skin on it is best either baked or poached.



image icon of a fishing boat
image icon of a fish


image icon of a fishing boat
image icon of a fish


Scientific name: Pseudocyttys maculatus

Family: Oreosomatinae

Other names: Smooth oreo, spotted dory, spotted oreo

Description: Smooth oreodory have deep, laterally compressed bodies, and moderate to large heads with large eyes. They have a greyish body with darker fins. The scales very small.

Size (length and weight): Up to 61 cm in length and 5 kg, but usually less. Females generally grow larger than males.

Life span: At least 100 years.

Habitat: Smooth oreodory inhabit waters on continental slopes at depths of 400‑1200 metres. Adults live close to the sea bed in deep water and form large aggregations over rough ground near pinnacles and canyons. Juveniles occur near the surface, often in association with krill, and tend to be dispersed over smooth ground.

Prey: Salps, small fish, crustaceans and squid.

Predators: Sharks.

Reproduction: Oreodory reach reproductive maturity at about 30 years of age. Spawning occurs in early summer. Females release eggs in a single spawning event each season. Females are estimated to produce about 84 000 eggs per spawning season. Oreodory eggs float near the sea surface after fertilisation.


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

Management of catch

Little is known about the stock structure of smooth oreodory. For assessment and management purposes smooth oreodory stocks are divided into two management units: the Cascade Plateau and the remainder of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.

The Commonwealth catch of smooth oreodory is managed by quota, meaning that catch by commercial fishers is restricted by weight.

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.

Area caught

Smooth oreodory  is found off the southern coast of Australia in cool to cold deeper continental slope waters. They live at the bottom of the ocean and are caught mainly below 600 metres.

Fishing gear and environmental impacts

Bottom trawl is the main fishing method used to catch smooth oreodory.

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.

AFMA’s management of commercial trawl fisheries aims to ensure trawl fishing has the least impact possible on the environment.

The impact of bottom trawl on bycatch species and habitats has been assessed as part of the ecological risk assessments. AFMA mitigates, or reduces, that impact through its ecological risk management strategy. The strategy details a number of management arrangements and strategies which aim to reduce the impact of fishing on the environment, including:

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

All bottom trawl boats are also required to have a seabird management plan in place to reduce interactions with seabirds during fishing.

Want to know more?

This is just an overview of smooth oreodory, 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 adviceSlope Resource Assessment Group and the South East Management Advisory Committee

Environmental impactsBycatch and discard program

Eating and cooking – Visit the FRDC Fishfiles website for the best cooking techniques and recipes for this fish