Golden Snapper

Centroberyx affinis  (Scientific Name)
Other common names: Nannygai


Please check the latest rules and catch limits for golden snapper in your area on the MPI website:




Golden snapper or red snapper are named after their red body colour. The red becomes apparent at  the surface as at depth,  the colour red dissipates and is a lot harder to recognise.
They are one of the most highly prized and rare kinds of fish to spear. Unlike their name, they are not a snapper at all being more closely related to orange roughy.  They have a large head and eyes and an oblique mouth. There are small spines on the gill plate that can cause a very painful sting, so be wary when handling.


Golden snapper are very slow growing, reaching a maximum length of 55cm with a life span of 30-40 years.


Golden snapper normal reside in one area. Swimming slowly in mid-water, seldom near the surface and never resting on the bottom they are most abundant in waters around 100 metres, so to find them at diveable depths is a unique experience. They are  often seen hovering in the gloom on top  or on the southern side of pinnacles, or in deep cracks and caves. They seem to hang motionless in the water, moving in a start-stop manner in order to be able to estimate the movement of its prey. It has adapted to intercept prey rather than pursuing it. They are a nocturnal fish so feeding
is triggered by the fall of light.
They begin to rise and feed on plankton, krill and small fish, dropping down again at sun rise.
Their mouth has bands of minute teeth in both jaws perfect for grinding crustaceans and molluscs.


Golden snapper has a tender white to pinkish flesh with a sweet, mild flavour. It can be cooked in practically every way, or alternatively served raw as sashimi.


Recently, larger numbers of boarfish have been reported – most likely due to the fact that they receive little or no fishing pressure from either commercial or line fisherman. It’s been observed that the boarfish will move into shallower waters during the summer months to spawn when the water warms up. During this period, they can be encountered in as little as 5m of water. While little is known about their growth rate it’s believed that they take a couple of years to reach full maturity and size.


Giant boarfish are renowned for their excellent eating quality and are highly regarded as one of the best eating fish around. They have few bones and white soft meat. Fillets can normally be quite chunky (if filleted correctly) and their flesh is delicate in flavour and texture. They can be adapted to a variety of recipes, but are best lightly pan-seared or smoked - see our boarfish recipe in this issue.


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