Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus), or tamure of the Maoris, is our most popular food fish. It is found throughout New Zealand, but is most abundant in the north. A snapper will eat almost anything in the way of animal food, shellfish, crabs, shrimps, heart urchins, and small fishes, with apparently no particular preferences. Average fish range from 10 to 15 in., but occasional examples are known up to 36 lb in weight and over 40 in. in length. The snapper is silvery in colour, deepening to bronzy red and pink above, and with blue spots scattered over the silvery sides. Confusion exists over the spelling of the popular name, which is sometimes erroneously rendered as “schnapper”.
The New Zealand snapper is not a member of the tropical snapper family, but belongs to the sea bream family, which also includes several related Australian fish.
by Arthur William Baden Powell, Assistant Director, Auckland Institute and Museum.