Gemfish Rexea solandri
Distribution - Gemfish are a bottom dwelling fish which inhabitat deep water off the New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmanian coasts. Generally found in large schools at depths of 100 - 800 metres.
Size - Maximum weight of around 40kg and 1.35m in length.
Characteristics - The gemfish is a member of the family Gempylidae, which includes the snoek or barracouta. Gemfish is generally a silvery colour which darkens to a more bluish to purplish tinge after capture. The first dorsal fin has a large black blotch near outer margin between the first three spines and the second dorsal, anal and caudal fins are all orange.
Gemfish is considered to be a very good eating fish with a delicate flavour and the thick white fillets are extremely tasty grilled, baked, smoked or fried. Gemfish are also known as Hake. A large commercial fishery was developed for gemfish off NSW in the 1970s with catches peaking in 1980 at 5,000 tonnes however, the fishery has collapsed with trawl catches currently at 100 tonnes or less per year.
Confusing species - Barracouta (Thyrsites atun).