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Barracouta are caught in coastal waters around mainland New Zealand, The Snares and Chatham Islands, down to about 400 metres.
Barracouta are members of the Gempylidae family of Snake Mackerels.
Dark blue-grey back with silver sides and a belly tinged with blue or purple iridescence, they have a long slender body, smooth skin, with a pointed head, large mouth and very sharp teeth. Barracouta have very fine scales that are almost undetectable
The flesh is dark and whitens on cooking.
Barracouta is managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries using the New Zealand Quota Management System (QMS). Regular stocks assessment are conducted to estimate fishery stock size and numbers. Scientific studies are also used. From these, scientists can estimate future stock sizes and catch limits.
They are found throughout New Zealand, usually occurring in surface schools. The species spawns from August to September off the coasts of both of the main islands, and from November to December around Southland and the Chatham Islands. The Barracouta is most abundant around New Zealand’s South Island, where it is regarded as an important edible fish.
Barracouta has dark flesh that whitens on cooking with medium moisture, and medium to low fat content, it is most often prepared by grilling, frying or smoking. Barracouta has a very distinctive taste and is also very suitable for smoking and canning.