Porae have a silvery body with a blue/green tinge on top and bluish fins. Juveniles have a dark blotch along their sides. Often mistaken for snapper, they can however be identified by their ‘big lips’ and long pectoral fins that reach as far back as the anus.
AGE & GROWTH
Porae grow to a maximum length of 100 cm, but most adult fish are around 40-60 cm and have a top weight of around 12kgs. Although porae have a lifespan of around 30 years, they grow rapidly, reaching 25-28 cm after just two years. At this point, maturity is reached and growth slows. Spawning occurs during late summer and autumn.
HABITAT & FEEDING
Although they can be found as far south as the Cook Straight during the summer months, porae are more common in the north of the North Island. They are also found on sandy reefs and gravel patches throughout inshore areas that offer easy access to food supplies. Porae feed on worms, brittlestars and sea urchins but love crabs and other invertebrates that they find on the bottom. Adults are thought to occupy distinct home ranges, with some residing in the same area for many years.
Porae have moist, medium to thick flakes with a slightly grey meat that whitens when cooked. They are good to bake, BBQ, poach or to use in a curry, pie or chowder.