(J. R. Forster, 1801)
Arripis trutta, known as kahawai in New Zealand and as the Australian salmon in Australia, is one of four species of marine fish within the genus Arripis, found in cooler waters around the south eastern and south western coasts of Australia and the New Zealand coastline. Although it is referred to as a salmon in Australia and its species epithet trutta is the Latin for trout, it is not related to salmons or trouts of the family Salmonidae.
Arripis trutta has a dark bluish-green body, indistinct rows of spots forming narrow irregular bands on upper sides. Juveniles have golden bars on the upper sides that break up into spots in larger individuals, a yellowish pectoral fin with a black basal spot, a black margin on the caudal fin.
These fish typically weigh between 1 and 2.5 kg with some rare specimens reaching a weight of 6 kg. Further Australian name variants of Arripis trutta include bay trout, black back, black-backed salmon, buck, buck salmon, cocky salmon, colonial salmon, Eastern Australian salmon, native salmon, newfish, salmon trout and three kings.
Australian salmon have been commercially farmed in Southern Tasmania since the late 70's with the moral and financial backing of the No Fish Farms in Tasmanias East Coast group. Summer spawning aggregations have provided spectacular displays mainly around the Oakhampton Bay area, with local anglers utilising whole roast chicken baits.
As a sports fish
Kahawai is the traditional Maori name which when translated means "brave" or "strong" (kaha) water (wai). This in reference to the kahawai's tendency to jump and fight when caught. In New Zealand it is often caught in abundance at river mouths and is a highly popular sports fish that is widely regarded[according to whom?] to "punch above its weight" in terms of challenge to land.
It can often be caught on a spinning or surf casting reel, although it is not unheard of[according to whom?] for fishermen to use lighter lines and fly fishing rods for a real challenge.
The kahawai is often associated with the white fronted tern, as the bird often congregates above the bait balls associated with a shoal of kahawai hunting. As such the tern is colloquially known[according to whom?] as the "kahawai bird"
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Arripis trutta" in FishBase. March 2006 version.
- Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
- Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Eastern Australian Salmon, Arripis trutta, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Aug 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/406
- Bishop, Tony. "How to catch a kahawai – a top NZ sportfish". Bish on Fish.