John Dory


year round

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Identification & Biology:: Olive-brown with a golden sheen, and a dark spot on the center of each side. Tiny scales and a very smooth skin. The body is almost oval, very compressed and it has a large head and upright jaw. The dorsal-fin spine membranes extend well beyond the spines and there is a single row of spiny edged scutes along the belly and at the base of dorsal and anal fins.

Dories are distinct from all other fishes, with the exception of their deepwater relatives the oreos from which they differ in having a smoother, paler skin and smaller eye. The John Dory, with its dark fingerprint spot and long filamentous dorsal fin, is an unmistakable member of the group.

Range & Habitat: Quite common in the coastal water of northern New Zealand, particularly from Bay of Plenty northwards, but not abundant in any locality. This species does not school.

Market Description: White firm flesh. Very deep, short and tapering sharply. Rarely skinned with small and barely detectable scales.

Note: John Dory are hunters and generally only take live bait when fishing with hook and line. This is why you will quite often see a small whole snapper in its belly when the fish comes off longliners.

Buying Tips: Mild flavor, firm texture.

Recommended Preparation: suitable for most cooking methods.