Elephant Fish

COMMON NAME: Elephant Fish

New Zealand: Elephant Fish, Silver Trumpeter, Whitefish
Australia: Elephant Fish, Silver Trumpeter, Whitefish
Maori Name: Makorepe, Reperepe

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Elephant Fish (Callorhinchus Milii)

Elephant Fish are cartilaginous fishes, and are distant cousins of sharks, skates and stingrays. The elephant fish lives in deep water off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, but migrates annually into shallow coastal bays to lay their eggs.

Silver-grey above, with darker blotches, silvery-white below, skin smooth, The plough or hoe-like extension of the nose distinguishes the Elephant Fish from other Chimaeras or Ghost Sharks.

Most common along the east coast of the South Island down to 200m, but limited numbers extend north to Cape Egmont and Hawkes Bay. The West Coast is also a good fishery over late Spring and Summer, with ‘elos’ a favorite for surfcasters. They move into shallow estuaries and bays over Spring and Summer when females migrate inshore to lay their egg capsules. They are often caught in the Outer Sounds over late Summer and through to late Autumn where spawning seems later than other areas. Elephant Fish feed on small Crustaceans, Molluscs and other tiny creatures inhabiting the sediment.

Elephant Fish Meat Quality
A reasonably firm flesh that cooks up white. Perfect for deep frying.
Very commonly used for “Fish and Chips” Fish in New Zealand and Australia.


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