Blue moki are predominately found in the southern areas of NZ, but will sometimes be found lurking in northern waters. While they have been speared from the Three Kings to the southern edge of the Snares Shelf and the Chatham Islands, they do prefer the cooler water temperatures and rocky areas. The moki is a much under-rated fish in the northern waters of New Zealand but is a main targeted species in the south.
The usual colour is blue-grey with shades of brown and one or two large brownish blotches below the dorsal fins. The mouth is small with thick lips and small teeth; there are no thickened or protruding pectoral rays.
Although possessing a similar name, red and blue moki are not closely related.
AGE & GROWTH
This species spawns between East Cape and Mahia, grows to between 50 and 90 cm and can weigh over 10 kg. Blue moki is a comparatively long-lived species normally found in shallow waters. There have been recorded catches of moki that are 30 years old, all of which were around the 90cm mark in length.
HABITAT & FEEDING
Blue moki eat just about anything from crabs, small fish and seaweed to worms that they suck from the muddy bottoms where they commonly live. They can often be found over rocky reefs at the full range of depths attainable by a freediver although they have been caught at depths of around 230 metres off south east Australia, but obviously not by spearo’s.
Because moki like cooler waters up to depths of 100 metres, it has a well textured flesh with plenty of fatty content around the skin. It has small dark veins which run through its pink flesh. It is a superb fish to use in a seafood chowder, a curry or simply pan fried.