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Morwong (Nemadactylus Species) Photographs and Information

Morwongs are distinguished by having the lower 4-7 pectoral fin rays unbranched and somewhat thickened.  At least one of these rays is elongated and produced beyond the remainder of the fin.  Morwong have thick lips (why they are sometimes known as rubberlip morwong).  They have 47-55 scales in the lateral line.  They are pale silvery blue and sometimes have a brownish hue.

Morwong inhabit continental shelf waters of south eastern Australia.  They are also found in the waters of the north island of New Zealand.

Morwong feed mainly at night and their diet includes crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms.

Commercial fishing for morwong began in about 1915.  The main method of capture is by demersal otter trawls.  Minor catches are also taken by traps and bottom set gillnets, handlines and bottom set longlines.  Morwong are mainly sold on the domestic fresh fish market either as whole fish or fillets.

Habitat: Saltwater

Found in shallow to moderately deep water on reefs or adjacent to rocky bottoms, where they feed at night

Morwonr - Nemadactylus Species, rubber lips fish

map showing where morwong fish are found in Australina waters

morwong fish, rubberlips fish, fresh morwong

Scientific Name Nemadactylus Species
Location NSW, TAS, SA, WA
Season All year round
Size 75 cm, 6.7 kg
Australian Species Code 37 377901
Taste, Texture Mild fishy flavour.  Medium to firm texture.


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

Kilojoules 475 (113 calories)
Protein 21 g
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 98 mg
Total fat (oil) 0.7 g
Saturated fat 38% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 21% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 41% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 25 mg
Omega-3, DHA 99 mg
Omega-6, AA 32 mg

Angling for Morwong:

Morwong are caught by recreational anglers by handlines or rod-and-line  using baits such as fish flesh, prawns and pieces of squid.

Minimum legal size limits apply to recreational catches of morwong in New South Wales.

Saltwater Fish - What bait to use for fishing - a list of saltwater baits with the main "diners" who will be tempted.


Cooking Morwong:

Colour of raw fillet:

White to pale pink; creamy pink.


Medium to firm.

Fat content:

Low to medium.


Mild fishy flavour.

Morwongs are generally medium-priced finfish, but banded morwong can be high priced when sold live. Grey morwong is higher priced than jackass morwong. Prices vary a little between states.

Morwongs have creamy flesh with a distinctive flavour and they are ideally suited to frying, baking, steaming or barbecuing whole (gilled and gutted).

The size of these species makes them excellent for presentation especially if deep-fried whole and served with a coriander, chilli and lime dressing. Alternatively, wrap the finfish in foil and bake with lemon and fresh parsley, then douse with a warm vinaigrette of lemon, virgin olive oil and toasted sesame seeds. Score flesh on both sides before cooking to allow for even heat penetration.

Morwongs also marry well with the flavours of teriyaki, chilli, basil and coconut milk, when used in fragrant seafood curries.

Morwongs can be used in place of snapper or red emperor as an inexpensive centrepiece for a buffet.

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


Recipes Suitable for this fish:

Red snapper with shrimp and lemon butter recipe mussel and red snapper soup vietnamese snapper in foil, cooking snapper snapper fillet wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of asparagus, recipe for snapper
Red Snapper with Island Citrus Shrimp Ceviche and Lemon Beurre Blanc Mussel and Red Snapper Soup Vietnamese Snapper Prosciutto Wrapped Snapper

Commercial Fishing for Morwong:

Commercial fishing for morwong began in about 1915.  The main method of capture is by demersal otter trawls.  Minor catches are also taken by traps and bottom set gillnets, handlines and bottom set longlines.  Morwong are mainly sold on the domestic fresh fish market either as whole fish or fillets.

Another species, the king morwong (Nemadactylus sp.), is occasionally sold at the Sydney Fish Market. Its marketing name, along with the jackass morwong, is simply morwong .

More links about Morwong

Australian Government - Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (PDF file) - Australian Fisheries Statistics 2010/2011



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