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Gemfish (Rexea solandri) Photographs and Information



Also known as hake, king couta, kingfish, silver kingfish and southern kingfish and Royal Escolar.

Live gemfish are dark bronze to silvery.  They turn bluish after death.  Their second dorsal fin, anal fin and caudal fin are grey to black.   There is a black blotch at the front of the first dorsal fin covering less than half of the fin membrane.  Gemfish have three enlarged fang-like teeth at the front of their upper jaw.  Their lateral line branches into two portions below or behind the fifth dorsal spine.  Fish longer than 25 cm are entirely scaled.  The pelvis fins consist of distinct spine and 2 or 3 soft rays.

They are distributed throughout southern Australian waters.  They are also present in New Zealand waters.  Gemfish live in the deeper continental shelf and upper slope waters from 100 - 700 metres.  They are normally caught close to the sea bed but probably move into midwater at times.

Mature gemfish undergo an annual spawning migration which begins with fish aggregating off north eastern Bass Strait in autumn, followed by movement of the aggregated fish into waters off New South Wales.  The migrating schools usually reach the Sydney to Wollongong region by the end of June and typically peak in abundance during July.  There can be some variability from year to year in the timing of the migration, but most fish reach the spawning grounds by early to mid August.  The only confirmed spawning area for gemfish in Australian waters is off the coast of central to northern New South Wales.

Spawning takes place during August.  The number of eggs produced by female gemfish varies according to the size of the fish.  The majority of females release 1-2 million eggs.

Gemfish appear to disperse after spawning, although reasonable catch rates can be taken in September and October from the 'back run' when some of the stock returns to southern waters.

Gemfish are carnivorous, feeding on fish such as whiptails and deepwater cardinal fish.  Gemfish also feed on Royal Red Prawns and Squid.

Gemfish (Rexea solandri) Photo

gemfishmap.jpg (3990 bytes)

gemfish.jpg (2721 bytes)

Habitat: Saltwater, On or near the bottom in deep water

Other available relatives include barracouta (Thyrsites atun), escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum and Ruvettus pretiosus) and ribbonfish (Lepidopus caudatus).

Scientific Name Rexea solandri
Location NSW, VIC, WA, TAS, SA
Season All year round
Size To 116 cm
Australian Species Code 37 439002
Taste, Texture Distinct mild fishy flavour.  Medium texture.

 

Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Gemfish fillet.

Kilojoules 806 (192 calories)
Protein: 19.6 g
Cholesterol 33 mg
Sodium 62 mg
Total fat (oil) 2.6 g
Saturated fat 32% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 44% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 24% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 74 mg
Omega-3, DHA 302 mg
Omega-6, AA 23 mg


Angling for Gemfish:

As Gemfish live in deep waters, they are rarely caught by recreational anglers.


Cooking Gemfish:

Colour of raw fillet:

White to pink.

Texture:

Medium texture, flakes easily.

Fat content:

Medium.

Flavour:

Distinct mild fishy flavour.

Gemfish is a very versatile fish. With its firm to medium texture, large flake and medium flavour, it holds its shape using a range of cooking methods, including shallow frying, grilling, poaching, steaming and smoking. Deep frying and poaching help keep the flesh moist.

Gemfish can be poached in a mixture of coconut milk, water, sherry and lime juice, and these flavours combine well with ginger, garlic, cumin and coriander.

Asian flavours can be created by steaming gemfish cutlets with ginger, garlic chives, lemongrass and chilli. To really impress your diners, cook and serve in individual bamboo steamers.

Gemfish is also ideal for stir-frying with vegetables and strongly flavoured sauces. Coat chunks of fish with a mixture of beaten egg, sherry and soy. Grill and add to the stir-fried vegetables.

Alternatively, marinated gemfish cubes can be threaded on to kebab skewers and grilled. Baste with the marinade as they cook.

Gemfish has a texture that is suitable in curries and for other moist cooking such as braising. It is also good in soups.

Microwave Cooking Times for Fish
- Fish fillets 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50 seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish Small 3-4 minutes on medium

Easy Fish Recipes - From How To Cook Fish

 


Commercial Fishing for Gemfish:

Wild caught.

Recovery Rate:  Fillets (skin on, wing off): 50% from whole gemfish; 70% from trunks

Gemfish have been commercially fished for since last century.  Up until 1880, gemfish was an important commercial species in southern Tasmania, where it was caught inshore at night on lines baited with jack mackerel or barracouta.  The cause of the disappearance of gemfish from the inshore fishery was never established.

Gemfish are now mainly caught from trawl vessels using demersal otter trawl gear.  A small dropline fishery exists for spawning gemfish off the coast of northern New South Wales.  Some gemfish are also caught in bottom set gillnets (for sharks) in eastern Bass Strait.

Caught year round, with peak supply traditionally in winter months when spawning fish are caught. However, catches are now more evenly distributed throughout the year

Most of the gemfish catch is sold on the domestic fresh fish market.   Gemfish are either headed and gutted on board the catching vessel if catches are small, or sold as whole fish when large catches are made.

Availability:
Gemfish are caught year round, main season February to July

Geographical location
They are found within a wide depth range of between 50 and 550 metres on the continental shelf, and sometimes as deep as 800 metres. They are voracious predators that feed on a wide variety of squid and fish.

Physical attributes
Back and head have blue tones with a darker stripe along the back. The body shades to iridescent dark silver with paler white on the belly. The skin is smooth and shimmering. The dorsal fin has a prominent black blotch on the membrane between the first three spines. Gemfish are distinguished from Barracouta (of the same family) by a deeper body, more silvery skin, and two lateral lines. Like Barracouta, they have extremely sharp teeth that should be avoided when handling the fish, either alive or dead.

Spawning
Small juveniles and adults occur seasonally in some grounds and often school together. They are thought to undertake spawning and pre-spawning runs, and these form the basis of the target fisheries in winter.

Fishing methods
Gemfish are usually caught by trawlers in coastal waters The main season is February to July, but they can be caught year-round.

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