Blue Grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector 1871)

Other Names: Blue Grenidier, Blue Hake, Grenadier, Hoki, New Zealand Whiptail, New Zealand Whip-tail, Whiptail

A Blue Grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae, collected south of Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea on the 2003 NORFANZ Expedition. Source: Robin McPhee / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved


A long, slender silvery-blue cod-like fish with a compressed tapering body and tiny weakly-attached scales. Body with two dorsal fins, the first short-based above the pelvic fins, the second long-based and continuous with the caudal and long-based anal fin; mouth large, eye large, pectoral-fin base in advance of dorsal and pelvic fins.

Blue Grenadier is a very important commercial species, especially in south-eastern Australia.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Macruronus novaezelandiae in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Mar 2024,

Blue Grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector 1871)

More Info


Widespread in southern Australia, from off Newcastle (New Soth Wales) to just north of Bunbury (Western Australia), in depths of 2-712 m. Juveniles are often found inshore and occasionally enter large estuaries; adults live near the bottom, mostly on the upper continental slope. Also in New Zealand.

Bottom-dwelling marine fishes that form schools in deep water, mainly on the upper continental slope at 200-700m. Blue grenadier are caught mainly in the South East Trawl Fishery off the southern coast of NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and SA, with the largest catches off western Bass Strait and Tasmania.

Immature fish can be found inshore and occasionally in large estuaries. Blue Grenadier and its Macruronidae relations are found only in the Southern Hemisphere.


Meristic features: Dorsal-fin XII-XIII, 96-106; Anal fin 89-93; Vertebrae: 78-81


Females to 1.3 m, males to 1.12 m; a weight of 7 kg.


Silvery with a purplish or blue-green tinge above, lower sides and belly silvery; fins darker.


Carnivore – feeds above the bottom on small fishes, especially lanternfishes (family Myctophidae), crustaceans such as prawns, and squids.


Grow to 20-25 years. Blue grenadier are oviparous (egg-layers) and females reportedly release an average of one million eggs each time they spawn.


A very important commercial species in Australia. Blue Grenadier are taken mostly in the South East Trawl Fishery off southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, especially in waters off western Bass Strait. They are caught in mid-water trawls during winter spawning season, and in bottom trawls at other times. Considered very good eating, particularly when fresh.

Macruronus novaezelandiae is the target of a winter fishery off western Victoria and Tasmania. Hamer et al. (2009) determined that there were at least two separate Blue Grenadier stocks targeted by commercial fishers in the southern and eastern Australia. Macruronus novaezelandiae is the target of New Zealand’s largest fishery (McClatchie et al. 2005).

Species Citation

Coryphaenoides novaezelandiae Hector 1871, Trans. Proc. N. Z. Inst. 3(21): 136 pl. 18(1). Type locality: off Ward Island, Port Nicholson, New Zealand


Dianne J. Bray

Blue Grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector 1871)


Bulman, C.M., Koslow, J.A & Haskard, K.A. (1999). Estimation of the spawning stock biomass of blue grenadier (Macruronus novaezelandiae) off western Tasmania based upon the annual egg production method. Marine and Freshwater Research 50: 197–207. 

Bruce, B.D. 1988. Larval development of blue grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector), from Tasmanian waters. United States Fisheries Bulletin 86: 119-128

Bruce, B.D. 1998. Macruronidae — hakes. pp. 88-91 in Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp.

Bulman, C.M. & Blaber, S.J.M. 1986. Feeding ecology of Macruronus novaezealandiae (Hector) (Teleostei : Merlucciidae) in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37: 621-639

Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Moridae, Melanonidae, Euclichthyidae, Merlucciidae. pp. 324-340 figs 290-303 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

Gomon. M.F. 2008. Family Merlucciidae. pp. 348 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gunn, J.S., Bruce, B.D., Furlani, D.M., Thresher, R.E. & Blaber, S.J.M. 1989. Timing and location of spawning of Blue Grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Teleostei: Merlucciidae), in Australian coastal waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40(1): 97-112.

Hamer, P., Kemp. J., Robertson, S. & Hindell, J. 2009. Use of otolith chemistry and shape to assess stock structure of blue grenadier (Macruronus novaezelandiae) in the Commonwealth Trawl and Great Australian Bight fisheries. Final Report for FRDC Project 2007/030. Fisheries Research Branch, DPI Queenscliff and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra. pp.

Hector, J. 1871. On a new species of fish, Coryphaenoides Novae Zelandiae; native name, okarari. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 3 (21): 136 pl. 18(1)

Inada, T. 1990. Family Merluciidae. pp. 319-345 in Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kalish, J.M., Johnston, J.M., Smith, D.C., Morison, A.K. & Robertson, S.G. (1997). Use of the bomb radiocarbon chronometer for age validation in the blue grenadier Macruronus novaezelandiae. Marine Biology 128: 557–563. 

Lloris, D., J. Matallanas, J. & Oliver, P. 2005. Hakes of the world (Family Merlucciidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of hake species known to date. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. Rome, FAO. Vol. No. 2. 57 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

McClatchie, S., Pinkerton, M. & Livingston, M.E. 2005. Relating the distribution ofa semi-demersal fish, Macruronus novaezelandiae, to their pelagic food supply. Deep-sea Research 1 52: 1489–1501.

Milton, D.A. & Shacklee, J.B. 1987. Biochemical genetics and population structure of blue grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector) (Pisces : Merlucciidae), from Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 727– 742. doi:10.1071/MF9870727

Punt, A.E, D.C. Smith, M. Haddon, S. Russell, G.N. Tuck & T. Ryan. 2015. Estimating the dynamics of spawning aggregations using biological and fisheries data. Marine and Freshwater Research -

Punt, A.E., Smith, D.C., Thomson, R.B. Haddon, M., He, X. & Lyle, J.M. 2001. Stock assessment of the blue grenadier Macruronus novaezelandiae resource off south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 52(4): 701-717.

Smith, A.D.M. 1994. Blue grenadier, Macruronus novaezelandiae. p. 137-148. In R.D.J. Tilzey (ed.) The South East Fishery: a scientific review with particular reference to quota management. Bureau of Resource Sciences, Australian Government Print Service, Canberra. 360 pp.

Thresher, R.E., Bruce, B.D., Furlani, D.M. & Gunn, J.S. 1988. Distribution, advection and growth of larvae of the southern temperate gadoid, Macruronus novaezelandiae (Teleostei : Merlucciidae), in Australian coastal waters. Fishery Bulletin (U.S.) 87: 29–48.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37227001

Depth:2-715 m; usually 450-715 m

Fishing:Commercially important


Max Size:1.3 m; 7 kg

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CAAB distribution map