Category: Fish Phylum: Chordata Class: Holocephali Family: Callorhinchidae
Notes Elephants fish and there relatives belong to a class of fish which is related to the sharks. This means they have a skeleton made of cartilage like sharks but lack the more flattened body shape of the sharks and rays. The Elephant Fish averages 60 cm to 1 m in length and can reach over 1.2m . They are named for the distinctive lobed, trunk like snout in front of the mouth, which probably has a sensory function, perhaps used for detecting prey buried on the sea bottom. It has two high, triangular dorsal fins and the first has a strong folding spine in front of it. The upper lobe of the tail is long and shark like, while the lower lobe is short and is immediately behind the pointed anal fin. They are so close together they almost appear to be one fin. The fish is silver-grey with an overlay of brown markings on the body and fins. They lay large eggs in yellow brown capsules which measure about 25 x 10 cm, the capsule is laid on sand or mud in water less than 40m deep. The young hatch 6 to 68 months later and are slow growing, taking about 5 years to reach maturity.
Daily limit per person 5, no minimum size
Commercially caught during the inshore migration, either in trawls or set nets. Used locally in Fish and Chip shops or exported to Australia.
References http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=278469 (Accessed 23/12/10)
Collins Guide to the Sea fishes of NZ: Ayling & Cox