Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

morwong Nemadactylus douglasii, and close relations in the family Cheilodactylidae, a sea fish which has assumed some importance in SE Australia from the time when the steam trawling industry in New South Wales was set up, around 1915, and substantial quantities began to be landed. It is likewise popular in New Zealand, where names such as moki—but see also trumpeter—are used.

The jackass fish, N. macropterus, is a close relation, which may be distinguished by a black band extending from the dorsal fin to the gill cover. It is grouped for statistical and commercial purposes with the morwong. Roughley (1966) observes that by no stretch of the imagination could this fish be likened to the jackass (an alternative name for the kookaburra), a bird renowned for its boisterous ‘laugh’, and that use of the inappropriate name provoked public indifference. The name ‘sea bream’ was therefore allowed, although it too is not really suitable. (It might have been better to adopt the New Zealand name tarakihi.)