Opah / Moonfish
New Zealand, Wild-caught
Without a doubt the most visually stunning and fantastic looking of all the species we carry. Instead of being an elongated ‘typical’ fish shape, New Zealand Moonfish is round like its lunar namesake, and covered in silver spots that juxtapose its bright blue skin and even brighter red face, fins and tail. Looks more like a cartoon character than a marine animal.
NZ Moonfish is hardly ever seen in inshore waters, and indeed, was a very rarely fished species in New Zealand’s earlier days of commercial fishing. It started being landed in larger volumes once long-lining for tuna and swordfish increased. It is caught far from shore, where waters are deep, but it dwells near the surface and swims in solidarity.
Now this afore seldom-seen fish is a highly valued bycatch species of the surface long-liners, and fetches impressive market prices in countries such as Asia and Europe (sold whole) plus USA and Australia (sold as racks). In accordance with the Quota Management System, the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for moonfish in New Zealand is 527 tons per year.
The eating attributes of this fish are also nothing short of spectacular. As a fish that swims alone in the ocean, it is indeed solo in its class in terms of culinary applications. The taste is delicious and the beautiful orange flesh is packed with omega-3, which ensures a versatile range of uses and a constant presence on menus in top restaurants.