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What is a Hoki?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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Hoki is a type of fish in the hake family, found off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia. The fish are known by a number of other names, including blue grenadiers, blue hake, whiptails, whiptail hake, and New Zealand whiting. The fish have dense white flesh that is rich in omega-3 acids, making it a good dietary choice. Studies have also suggested that this type of fish is a reasonably environmentally sustainable choice for consumers who are concerned about fishery management.

The fish tend to live in the middle depths of the water, and they feed on small crustaceans. Larger fish species as well as humans find hoki quite acceptable food, but the fish reproduce in large numbers, so the population stays relatively stable. They also mature very rapidly, growing to a size of up to 47 inches (120 centimeters). These factors were considered when the hoki fishery was evaluated for sustainability, along with other issues like fishing techniques and accepted practices on fishing boats.

In appearance, the fish have long wedge shaped bodies that become narrower at the tail, with slim fins and a blue-green to silver color pattern. Their eyes are quite large, and the fish also have the classic protruding jaw associated with many hake and cod. The large eyes make the fish appear perpetually startled, and they are probably quite useful in the murky waters that the fish favor. The scientific name for the fish is Macruronus novazelandiae.

In New Zealand, hoki comprise the largest commercial fish species. Because of the high volume of catch, the fishery is closely monitored to ensure that the fish are not being excessively exploited. Although the population appears to be stable, some concerns have been raised about bycatch and dumping related to the industry. By aggressively managing the fishery, the New Zealand government hopes to keep them sustainable and economically viable, though several international agencies have raised concerns about hoki's sustainability.

This fish is typically available frozen, as it does not keep well otherwise. It can be used in cooking just like hake or cod would be. The dense flesh holds up very well to saute and grilling, and it may also be baked or steamed. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet and will pair well with a wide assortment of sauces and vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Hoki fish and where can it be found?

A Hoki, also known as blue hake, whiptail, or blue grenadier, is a deep-sea fish native to the waters around New Zealand and southern Australia. It thrives in the mid to deep water levels, typically between 200 and 800 meters deep. Hoki are significant for commercial fishing due to their tender white flesh and mild flavor.

What does the Hoki fish look like?

The Hoki fish is easily recognizable by its elongated body, large eyes, and silvery-blue coloration. It can grow up to 1.3 meters in length and weigh up to 15 kilograms. Its distinctive forked tail, which resembles a whip, contributes to its alternative name, whiptail.

How is Hoki fish typically used?

Hoki is widely used in the food industry, often found in processed products like fish fingers, fish fillets, and surimi. Its flaky texture and mild taste make it a versatile ingredient. According to the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, Hoki is also MSC-certified, reflecting sustainable fishing practices.

What is the nutritional value of Hoki fish?

Hoki fish is a nutritious choice, rich in protein and low in fat. It provides a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart and brain health. The fish also contains vitamins D and B12, as well as minerals like selenium and iodine, making it a healthy addition to a balanced diet.

Are there any sustainability concerns regarding Hoki fishing?

Sustainability concerns have been raised in the past, but the Hoki fisheries have taken steps to address these issues. They are now considered a model for sustainable fishing, with quotas and measures in place to prevent overfishing. The Marine Stewardship Council has certified New Zealand's Hoki fisheries, ensuring they meet environmental standards for sustainability.

How does the Hoki's lifecycle and reproduction work?

Hoki are known to migrate long distances for spawning, which typically occurs between July and September. They release thousands of eggs into the water column, which then drift and hatch into larvae. The juveniles settle in shallower waters before maturing and moving to deeper waters, completing their lifecycle over about 25 years.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon962324 — On Jul 23, 2014

No wonder people have cancers and all kinds of ailments when they ingest bad meats as food like pork, prawns, catfish, crap, lobster, etc., etc.

People never learn what the true God of the Bible says do not eat! Wake up!

By anon349881 — On Sep 30, 2013

According to the Kashrut authorities of Australia, where the fish is found in deep ocean waters, hoki is Kosher.

By anon339390 — On Jun 22, 2013

Fish should be eaten raw (remove skin and scales first) and cows should be chopped into steaks prior to cooking till medium rare.

By anon318949 — On Feb 09, 2013

God is not Austin, Christian or a Jew. God is non denominational. Do you think God involves himself on the petty human disputes as here on earth? Religions are a human construct -- all of them

Eat what you like. It doesn't make any difference and if you follow closely the teachings of a religion to the point of rejecting certain foods because you think it stops you from getting to heaven, then you're not living your life. You're simply waiting to die. --Martin R.

By anon144200 — On Jan 19, 2011

@WilliB: "Who gets to decide which God is right?" You do, actually. It's up to you to decide. but the preceding step is probably something along the lines of why should you care if there is a God or not.

The answer to that question is the same as if you sought to answer:

"Where did we come from and why?"

The Big Bang theory is progressing further and further but too many scientists avoid asking why it happened, and instead focus on how.

We can trace back the big bang phenomenon as far as we can possibly imagine however it still doesn't answer 'why'.

If I said "God did it" most people's first response is 'who made God then?' Perfectly logical if you ignore God to be a being that has always existed. So where's the middle of infinity?

People will bring up reasons to why they should not believe/do not have to believe in a God such as "if God is such a loving God, why would he let xyz happen?"

I have never met a person who has asked this and sought out to answer it for themselves. they only ask it to convince themselves in poor deductive logic that they need not believe in any God.

I can't convince you that my God is the right God for the same reason that I can't describe what red looks like to person who has never seen it before.

We are all after the same thing really: the truth about where we came from, why and where we are going.

Essentially you only have two choices; to believe in something, or believe in nothing (Nihilism).

By anon132165 — On Dec 05, 2010

Whoever does or does not eat kosher is not immortal or is not spared from aging or ailments so if you like something, eat it. but just do it in limits and you will die a peaceful death.

By WilliB — On Nov 24, 2010

@anon44805: Do you think the Hindu gods agree with your statement that cows are "made of steak"?

Who gets to decide which God is right?

By anon115686 — On Oct 04, 2010

Wow I just came to find out what Hoki was. I never knew people did or didn't eat skin or scale fish for religious reasons or otherwise. As a vegetarian I don't eat any of the things mentioned here - I'm so not used to be the uncomplicated one!

By anon105862 — On Aug 23, 2010

@anon44812: here is your information from? Common tuna and salmon both have scales. There is a particular tuna called the dogtooth tuna which has no scales.

By anon96777 — On Jul 16, 2010

God does not make you do what he wants. people are grown and are able to make their on decisions, so leave God out of it.

By anon87327 — On May 29, 2010

To anon69728 who thinks he understands the atheist's thought process, you are completely wrong. Unlike religious people, our beliefs are truly our own and not influenced by others the way yours are. You are completely brainwashed by a cult belief system with no basis in fact and you believe it simply because your parents, siblings and neighbors are all sheep and believe it, too.

Secondly, your argument that atheists are stupid because all we have to do is be religious all our lives and hedge our bets just in case we're wrong, then in heaven we can say "whew, glad i covered my butt on that one!" How silly! Why don't you believe unicorns created the universe then just in case?

Then when we die and the unicorn superbeings pierce you with their mighty horns because you didn't believe I will laugh and say I told you so.

So get busy believing and following all the possible crazy crap out there that people believe because you never know and you've got to cover all the possibilities just in case. Have a fun life.

By anon82442 — On May 06, 2010

Thank you for the information i have been looking for other names for a few of my favorite fruits and vegetables since i moved from NZ to USA and had recently added hoki to the list since most of the time it's my favorite fish to fry.

By anon76977 — On Apr 12, 2010

I have always known that half the population were below average intelligence, but I'm astonished at the number of ignorant, religiously oriented comments here.

By anon70345 — On Mar 13, 2010

Hoki has no scales because it resides in the sunless depths of the Pacific.

By anon69752 — On Mar 10, 2010

There is more "nastiness" done in the name of religion than eating (goddess forbid) a "skin" fish. Those worried about kosher should keep in mind all the slaughterhouse mistreatment of animals, yes even in a kosher slaughterhouse. Eat the damn fish and be happy you have food.

By anon69734 — On Mar 09, 2010

Religion needs to die! Eat whatever you want. Just keep in mind the unhealthy aspects of what you're eating, such as tuna with the high levels of mercury.

Personally, if you are religious, if a book written decades after this guy named Jesus died makes you have to choose what foods to eat, you are all full of crap!

By anon69728 — On Mar 09, 2010

someone said..."Listening to this about bible, kosher, skin, scales etc. is another reason to be an atheist!"

Interesting how many atheists base their beliefs on someone they never met. They never met any of the people who claim something is true/not true according to God/the Bible and base their whole non-belief system on a fallible human. Christians base their belief system on an infallible God. (And some christians are very fallible and that is why we need a savior who died on the cross to pay for our sins!)

And if there is not a God, nor heaven/hell and we all go to the same nothingness when we die, then what does it matter what you believe while alive?

Hitler and an innocent child dying at birth all go to the same nothingness. An atheist cannot even say I told you so if he is right, but, if there is a God and heaven and hell, then the Christian can say "I told ya so!", though not happily as it will be too late for the atheist after death.

By anon69647 — On Mar 09, 2010

Hoki might be kosher. If it is like Mahi, then it is. Mature Mahi have no scales, however, they do when young. Rabbinical sources have therefore declared that Mahi is kosher.

By anon69536 — On Mar 08, 2010

Hoki is Kosher. the full list of kosher fish can be found at the Kashrut authority from Australia.

Hoki is Kosher. For a moment I started feeling guilty, because we consume a lot in this household especially for gefilte fish. Cheers Raoul

By anon69102 — On Mar 06, 2010

Of course Hoki is not kosher.

By anon67728 — On Feb 26, 2010

Yes! God is interested in what we eat as well as what we drink or anything that we do. 1Corinthians 10:31 says we should do it all for the glory of God.

The Bible is specific as to what is we should eat

(fins and scales). It hasn't changed. Peter's vision in Acts 10 was referring to people not food. To the Atheist: Your beliefs, thoughts and feelings do not change God nor His laws.

By anon66561 — On Feb 20, 2010

Glad to see everyone is so passionate about their diets!

By anon66419 — On Feb 19, 2010

good riddance on whether the hoki fish can or cannot be eaten. so the saying goes, you are what you eat. take for example catfish or shrimp who do not have fins and scales but are bottom dwelling.

i for one do not want to eat something that sits in mud (catfish) and eats poop, leftovers, and who knows what else (shrimp). if you think you can eat whatever you want and don't go by whether a fish as fins and scales and a animal has a cloven hoof and chews cud, then why not just eat people. people obviously don't have fins/scales and don't have a cloven hoof/chew cud. and no, i am not a cannibal.

By anon66404 — On Feb 19, 2010

Hoki is not kosher!

By anon66260 — On Feb 18, 2010

Hoki is the fish McDonald's uses in their fish sandwiches!

By anon58283 — On Dec 31, 2009

i love fillet o fish so keep using that hoki!

By anon55974 — On Dec 10, 2009

Hoki have scales for a while but lose them as they get older. So unless you actually see the fish caught during the period it does have the scales then I'd say you probably better count it as a fish without scales just to feel assured.

Since most people never see the fish caught, there's no way of knowing whether it had already lost its scales or not before it was caught.

By anon46426 — On Sep 25, 2009

Listening to this about bible, kosher, skin, scales etc. is another reason to be an atheist!

By kfish — On Sep 12, 2009

Hoki is *not* kosher.

By anon44977 — On Sep 12, 2009

Is it a kosher fish or not? please say yes or no.

By anon44965 — On Sep 12, 2009

This is all so stupid. We all have *way* too much time on our hands.

By anon44939 — On Sep 11, 2009

In the New Covenant of grace, the Bible is far more concerned with how much we eat than what we eat. Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other habits such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, unrighteous hatred/anger) and unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to let our appetites control us; rather, we are to control them.

By anon44896 — On Sep 11, 2009

Hoki is Hake and must (Like almost all fish ) be inspected for black parasite infection. Other than that they are checked two times before they are available Yes they are a scaley skin fish but this means they are better eatin'. I help process the McDonalds fish along with millions of pounds of Hoki(Hake/ Whiting) for America in Washinton. They even smell good before they are cooked. HAH

By anon44841 — On Sep 10, 2009

Scale fish is safer than skin fish because the skin fish was created to be a scavenger to clean the ocean. God is the creator and He knows what's the best for us. If you are the creator of a machine that can be fueled by gasoline, is it okay if others put a diesel or different kind of fuel in it? if its fuel is gasoline then put gasoline, if its fuel is diesel then put diesel. God give us the scale fish not the skin fish. not everything you can eat is food, you can eat rat killer bait but it can cause you to poisoned.

By anon44822 — On Sep 10, 2009

Well, I am glad to have learned that Hoki reproduce in large numbers *and* mature quickly. If a fishing moratorium were placed on this species, it would be short lived. Unfortunately while the population regenerated (exponentially, mind you) mass fishing for less regenerative species would be required.

With regard to you devout/orthodox religious souls, let me say that while I commend your personal devotion, please refrain from using this forum as a tool to propagate your personal opinion, and yes religion is a personal opinion/belief.

I hold my own beliefs, and will not look down on others because they don't *act* according to my *opinion*.

By anon44817 — On Sep 10, 2009

Is there something wrong with me if I think "skin fish" sounds like a euphemism for something else?

By anon44812 — On Sep 10, 2009

i think that all you who are worried about skin fish or scale fish -- a fish is a fish. look-- i live in southern louisiana and we eat both skin and scale. we eat red fish that is a scale fish and we eat cat fish that is a skin fish. this is to all of y'all who eat tuna --that is a skin fish -- or salmon or even ling -- they are all skin fish. so y'all need to not worry. you won't get hurt if you eat a skin fish because 90 percent of the fish you eat in restaurants is skin fish.

By anon44805 — On Sep 10, 2009

If God didn't want us to eat cows, He wouldn't have made them out of steak. If God didn't want us to eat hoki, He wouldn't have made them out of McDonald's Filet-O-Fish!

By anon44795 — On Sep 10, 2009

No one questions the wisdom of a parent when they tell their children to not touch the hot stove yet we love to doubt the validity of God telling us that somethings are harmful to us and we would be better off going without. There are poisonous mushrooms that look similar to good ones yet the difference is life and death. "Garbage in-garbage out" is universally acknowledged fact in regards to computers, and "you are what you eat" is widely recognized as worthwhile wisdom for humans. Scavengers are the earth's wastebasket and sewer processing plants. I don't eat out of my sewer nor do I eat the animals that eat that stuff either. Cows have like four stomachs while chickens have a gizzard. Some animals have healthier menus and are healthier on the menu while the animals that God has declared "clean" to eat invariably have biological features that aid in their being better for us. God loves us and wants us to be happy; oddly enough He somehow thinks that we'd be happier if we were healthier. What do you think?

By anon44794 — On Sep 10, 2009

Does the fish have scales?

By anon44789 — On Sep 10, 2009

This is the fish McDonalds uses! Yummy!

By anon44784 — On Sep 10, 2009

with respect to anon40377's post, research shows fish with fins and scales are generally safer for humans to eat; scavengers, etc. - not so safe. Many individuals make dietary decisions based on health and other factors - not because they're bound by anything; it's all about choice; and btw, taste is a matter of preference whether kosher or not.

By anon44778 — On Sep 10, 2009

The scaled or scaleless thing is strictly a religious thing imposed on people beliving in a certain religious faith. their loss. What is funny is all your McDonald's filet of fish sandwiches are made with hoki fish, so how many of these religious types have eaten them?

By anon44772 — On Sep 10, 2009

A skin fish should not be eaten because the Lord said so. That's all I have, but it's the most important (to me). He made us so He's the expert. Their meat must be not be able to process any toxic substances it eats. Like a chicken can eat almost anything and will filter it out before it hits the meat, a pig will eat a rat and three hours later you can have it as ribs on your plate.

By anon44771 — On Sep 10, 2009

Is this fish kosher or not?

By anon40377 — On Aug 08, 2009

Regarding the "skin fish" thing, I'm guessing anon11975 is concerned whether or not the fish is kosher. If it comes from the water and has fins and scales it's kosher, but if it doesn't have fins and scales it's not. Luckily for those of us not bound by kosher restrictions, non-kosher can still be tasty.

By anon38563 — On Jul 27, 2009

I had smoked Hoki today for lunch.

It was delicious. I was so intrigued that I Googled Hoki and ended up here.

Why shouldn't skinned fish be eaten? I too am intrigued by the posting.

By anon36506 — On Jul 13, 2009

You say it is the same as a Blue Grenadier, but the shop where I bought BG last week had a different looking fillet in the next tray, called Hoki. The Hoki was thinner and had smaller "leaves" than the Blue G.

By anon25712 — On Feb 02, 2009

Why shouldn't skin fish should be eaten?

By anon11975 — On Apr 27, 2008

It is very important to many that what a fish looks like should be stated. In other words, "is it a skin fish?" or does it have scales? (very important to those of us who do not eat skin fish) I believe "HOKI" is a skin fish and thus should not be eaten, but it is not clearly stated whether it is or not. Thank you.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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