Leatherjackets are a firm fish with a very white flesh.
Named for their tough leathery skin, Leatherjackets have a distinctive retractable dorsal spine.
They are common throughout coastal New Zealand waters in rocky and weedy areas. They can also be found in more open sea areas at depths of 80 metres or more.Download fact sheet
Leatherjackets belong to the Monacanthidae family (triggerfishes, leatherjackets).
Leatherjackets have a uniform or mottled greenish-grey body with distinctive bright orange fins. The skin is tough and leathery, giving it the name 'Leatherjacket'. Males tend to be uniform in colour with yellow tails, whereas females and immature fish are more strongly mottled. The gill slit is dark blue and the first dorsal fin is modified to become a folding spike.
Their flesh is firm and very white.
Leatherjacket have been managed by the Quota Management System (QMS) since 2003. The Leatherjacket catch levels are determined by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to ensure sustainable fishing methods are continuously being practiced by all commercial fisheries through the 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.
Leatherjacket are found right around coastal New Zealand waters at depths of 80 metres or more.
Leatherjacket has a tasty, white, firm flesh and is suitable for most cooking methods.