Top 11 Seafood List to gather from the sea


Seasons and restrictions according to the Recreational Fishing Rules for the areas of Hauraki Gulf/Coromandel areas from Fisheries New Zealand

  1. Scallops
    Daily limit: 20 maximum
    Season: 1 September – 31 March inclusive
    Size: minimum 100mm – measured over the curve of the shell


  2. Rock Lobster
    Daily limit: 6 maximum  
    Season: All year round
    Size: minimum width 60mm
    *If you aren’t sure if the lobster is male or female measure 60mm

  3. Octopus
    Daily limit: Unlimited
    Season: All year round
    Size: unspecified

  4. Wakame seaweed
    Daily limit: Unlimited
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified

  5. Konbu / kelp
    Daily limit: Unlimited
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified
  6. Green Lipped Mussels
    Daily limit:  25 maximum
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified

  7. Uni / Kina / Sea Urchin*
    Daily limit:  50 maximum
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified

  8. Arrow Squid  Nototodarus gouldi or any type of squid
    Daily limit: Unlimited
    Season: All year round
    Size: unspecified
  9. Oysters
    Daily limit:
    Dreg: 50 maximum & Size: minimum width 58mm
    Rock/Pacific: 100 maximum & unspecified size
    Season: All year round

  10. Clams/Cockles
    Daily limit:  50 maximum
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified

  11. Tuatua (darker bands than the Toheroa)
    Daily limit:  50 maximum
    Season: all year round
    Size: unspecified
    XXX: Toheroa shellfish collection is prohibited  XXX



Flood Tide – Book

Title: Flood Tide
Author: Heather Heberley
Publisher: Cape Catley
Date Published: 1997
Pages: 260
Price: NZ$19.47 (

A sequel to the autobiography Weather Permitting by Heather Heberley. Heather talks in more detail about her family and their adventures living off the land and the sea. She goes into the history of her husband’s family and the relationship with Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island, New Zealand

Ajidon Marinated Jack Mackerel Rice Bowl


I created this recipe when I had too much marinated fish and leftover sushi rice.
Follow the recipe for Ajizushi found here. Follow it to the point where you have the fish and the rice prepared and come back and finish here with a twist.

Ajidon Recipe
sushi rice
marinated jack mackerel
4 green shiso leaves per bowl
soya sauce

Roughly chop the green shiso leaves.
Slice the jack mackerel into bite size pieces.
Place the rice into a deep bowl. (Do not pack down the rice.)
Arrange the green shiso over the rice.
Place the jack mackerel slices on top of the green shiso.
Serve immediately.
Drizzle soya sauce sparingly on top for extra flavour.

Ajishisomaki Tempura


Aji Shiso Maki Tempura Recipe
small jack mackerel, filleted with lateral line removed
shiso leaves, 2 per fillet
1 egg
1/2c ice cold water
1/2c high grade flour, sifted
ponzu sauce


Preheat fryer to 170 degrees.
Sandwich the jack mackerel fillet with green shiso leaves and secure with a toothpick.
Break an egg into a bowl and whisk.
Add the water to the egg and whisk again.
Add the flour and lightly whisk until just blended.
When all is ready dip the toothpicked jack mackerel into the tempura batter then into the fryer.
Cook until golden, or approximately 1 minute.
Serve immediately with ponzu sauce.

A grilling onboard


From sea to the plate. Jack mackerel was on the blackboard menu. It couldn’t have been fresher if we tried.
I had a few learning curves on preparing fish on board.

When cutting fish on board a boat seagulls tend to hover about expectantly. They love fish heads and will scavenge what you throw into the water. Nature’s way of cleaning up. Do not leave fish unattended on the boat as it tends to look like an offering.
Have a sharp knife. Have a grinding stone.

To remove the scales I began by leaning over the rail and holding the fish in one hand while I scraped with the other. Whoops. You guessed it. I dropped the fish and it sank to the bottom. I decided after that to use a bucket half filled with seawater to scale the fish. The best lessons are learned on the job. What a waste.

Using a tooth brush to remove the blood down the spine after removing the guts is also easier to do in the bucket.


Turn the grill on earlier than you need to warm up the hot plate.
Use chopsticks to turn the fish.
With mackerel cook well so that the fish meat is easier to pick off the bone.


jack mackerel
salt and pepper

  1. Remove the head by cutting just behind the pectoral fin, see parts of the fish for more.
  2. Remove the guts by cutting in front of the anal fin forward. Remove guts.
  3. Use a toothbrush to scrub along the spine of the fish inside, working your way from back to front. This may take 2-3 brushes. Rinse well.
  4. Remove the back half of the lateral line (spiny ridge along the side of the fish).
  5. Partially cut the fish just before the tail to make a cut. Cut too far and you cut the tail off so a light cut, but not too light. This takes practice.
    Run your knife along under the lateral line to about half way.
  6. Salt and pepper each side of the fish
  7. Grill each side until well cooked. Chopsticks are easiest to use.
  8. Transfer fish to the plate.
  9. Squeeze lemon juice on the fish.
  10. Enjoy!

A light that straps onto your head is ideal for cooking at night.
Your hands are free and you can see what you are doing.
Have spare batteries for the light. LED lights are best.

Aji Fry

Aji Fry / Crumbed Deep Fried Jack Mackerel

Jack mackerel
salt and pepper
deep fryer
brown sauce, Bulldog or HP

Heat the fryer.
Fillet the jack mackerel, remove the lateral line. (You don’t need to remove the bones along the spine with tweezers if frying.)
Salt and pepper the jack mackerel and set aside.
Prepare 3 dishes, one for flour, one for the egg whiske with a fork, and the other for the breadcrumbs.
Dip the fish first into the flour, next the egg and finally the bread crumbs.
Place in the fryer.
Remove once cooked. 2-3miutes or until golden brown.
Serve with brown sauce with a side of rice and vegetables.

Aji Nimono Recipe

Aji Nimono  AKA Simmered Jack Mackerel

1 part soya sauce
1 part mirin
1 part sake
ginger, sliced julienne
jack mackerel

Remove the head and guts of the jack mackerel. Fillet. Remove the lateral line and centre bones.
1:1:1 is the portion of the soya sauce, mirin and sake. I used a very small Chinese tea cup for measuring. Perhaps it was about 50ml.
Add the liquid and ginger to a fairly hot frypan.
Add the fillets. Simmer each side for about a minute each side if that.
Serve immediately.

If you don’t want the fish to curl then you could use bamboo skewers.

Oshizushi revisited

You know that cupboard in the kitchen that you have been meaning to clean out. Well I cleaned one of mine out and rediscovered my sushi making equipment.
I found the round wooden bowl for cooling the sushi rice and I found the wooden sushi presses for making blocks of sushi, oshizishi. Now the sushi looks more professional. *Remember to leave the plastic wrap on when you cut and remove before you eat. It makes slicing so much easier!

The rice in the wooden bowl cools down at a better rate when fanned. The rice should appear shiny.

The sushi box comes with three parts, a base, the sides and a lid. Before you place the fish and the rice into the mold line with plastic wrap so cleaning up afterwards is easy.

Once you have made the oshizushi a weight needs to be left on it overnight. I use a 1.5 litre plastic bottle filled with water.

For the recipe on how to make oshizushi please go to Oshizushi Recipe.

Top 10 fin fish list I want to catch to eat

Jack mackerel / Aji
This is not on the list as this is the most common fish I catch. I am trying to expand my recipes to use Jack mackerel in creative ways in the kitchen. At the moment I am taking the Japanese way of cooking this fish and running with it. I want to go Spanish and Thai next but let’s not rush things. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the meal first. Slow Food.

These ham and arugula sandwiches with mustard were pretty tasty. Actually they were amazing. Left over glazed ham from the night before. Yum. Note the generous slicing. You can still make out the cloves in the rind. They filled our stomachs on the boat while fishing one day last month. Lunch is not usually this good. I was really making an effort that day. Going for the gorgeous homemade sandwich.

I want to increase the amount of fish in my diet. I want to eat fresh fish. I don’t shirk cutting and gutting. I have tweezers for removing bones and a special tool for removing scales. A friend told me that a narrow paint scrapper does the job just as well. It’s true. And I have a sharp knife. Which reminds me it needs a run on the sharpening stone. Cutting through jack mackerel bones tends to dull the knife quickly. I might even try and sharpen it at the end of each filleting session. Remind me.
I have caught jack mackerel. And I hope to catch more in the future but I want to expand my fish repertoire. I want to mix it up a little. Eating the same fish can get rather boring. I have developed different ways of serving it up. I have more ways to show and about that will be on a later post. I made deep fried jack mackerel with HP sauce served with rice. That was eaten so fast that I didn’t have a chance to think about photo opportunities. Next time I will take a photo and add a recipe for that. Smaller jack mackerel are best for fried.


  1. Anchovy
  2. Red Snapper   (caught 13 November 2012)

  3. John Dory
  4. New Zealand Sole
  5. Blue Cod
  6. Blue Mackerel
  7. Trevally
  8. Tarakihi
  9. Bass Groper
  10. Hapuku

If anyone has a particular bait or hook for catching these fish I would be very happy to hear what you use.
Also when are the best times to fish? Early morning or anytime you can are the answers that I read. The moon and the tides have a massive impact on the chances of catching a fish. I have much to learn.
Do fish have rest times and feeding times or that just a myth?
I am open to all advice on fishing. I would love to hear from you.

And while I am asking questions: why do I only ever seem to catch undersized red snapper? Where are all the big fish?

In New Zealand we have limits on the fish you can catch. Here are the limits for the fish I have on my wish list.

1. Anchovy

No Limits

2. Red Snapper
Size: 27cm+
Quota Limit: 10

3. John Dory
Size: No Limit
Quota Limit: 20

4. New Zealand Sole
Size: 25cm+
Quota Limit: 20

5. Blue Cod
Size: 30cm+
Quota Limit: 20

6. Blue Mackerel
No Limits

7. Trevally
Size: 25cm+
Quota Limit: 20

8 Tarakihi
Size 25cm+
Quota Limit: 20

9 Bass Groper
Size: No limit
Quota Limit: 5* (combined daily limit of 5 fin fish from Bass/Hapuka/Groper/King Fish, but only a maximum of 3 king fish)

10 Hapuku
Size: No Limit
Quota Limit: 5* (combined daily limit of 5 fin fish from Bass/Hapuka/Groper/King Fish, but only a maximum of 3 king fish)

Quota limits are for the Auckland Kermadec Area and is current at May 2012
*Fish are measured from the tip of the nose to the V of the tail

Ministry of Primary Industries New Zealand
New Zealand Fish Guide

Aji Capaccio

  • Very rich in Omega 3
  • Best served on the day of the catch

Aji Capaccio AKA Mackerel Capaccio

thinly sliced pieces of mackerel* (bite sized pieces)
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
olive oil
juice of 2 limes, or 1 lemon
black pepper

Fillet and remove skin and bones from the jack mackerel (aji).
Place on a dish ready for serving.
Scatter the garlic over the fish.
Evenly sprinkle with olive oil.
Squeeze the juice of limes/lemon evenly over the fish.
Sprinkle pepper.
Serve immediately.
Goes well with champagne!

*If you find that the bones are difficult to remove along the spine after filleting the fish, remove the skin first and then cut on either side of the bones and create two skinny fillets per regular fillet. This size is perfect for slicing for capaccio.