Ling / Kingclip
New Zealand, Wild-caught
New Zealand Ling is a member of the cusk-eel family and has a mottled pink/brown upper body, and white belly. Do not be deceived by the somewhat ugly exterior of Ling, as it belies a set of beautiful pearl-white fillets under the skin, which are some of the best looking and eating of all the NZ species.
Its value has risen dramatically in recent years as its status has changed from an over-looked bycatch of the Bluenose/Groper fishery to a target species with a massive international following. Hong Kong, Spain and Australia are the biggest international markets for this fish, but it is making strong inroads into the US also, and catching on with plenty of top chefs.
Ling is caught in 600-1500 feet (200-500m) depths, and mostly around South Island waters, but there are some plentiful fishing grounds further north. Lee Fish only catch and source line-caught Ling, as trawled product is both unsustainable and substandard in quality. Current TACC (Total Allowable Commercial Catch) is restricted to 22,226 tons, a level that ensures biomass levels are maintained year after year.
Expect to see New Zealand Ling appearing on US menus in the near-future, and don’t miss the opportunity to taste this fish. It has firm-flesh which holds its moisture and locks in its sweet taste.