Thu 15 Feb

5 Seafood Predators (That Also Taste Great!)

A lot of marine species live a fairly sedate life. Herbivores can hide in the kelp, picking away, filter feeders can chew through the sand as long as they like. But then there are the species which are full-time hunters. Developing specialised characteristics for their environments, they know how to stalk, ambush, chase, cut, and crush their way to a meal. 

The good news for us is that many of them are also delicious! Here are five seafood predators to add to your plate next time you want to try a new fish. 


Grey Mackerel 

This is our pick as the next of the tropical Mackerel family to make a name for themselves.  This species lives in the warmer waters of northern Australia with four distinct populations spanning territory from Western Australia to northern New South Wales, with the bulk caught via line, trawl and netting in Queensland and the Northern Territory.  

As indicated by their narrow mouth with sharp, fine teeth, this fish predominantly feeds on baitfish. This imparts a rich oiliness to the thick fillets, which allows a greater variety of cooking methods. Try marinating cutlets and grilling directly on your barbeque, or large pieces in a vibrant curry. 


Longfin Eel 

Born in tropical waters off the coast of New Caledonia, the first thing this species must do is manage to navigate thousands of kilometres, all the way back to freshwater streams, rivers, and dams on the east coast of Australia. They then spend a few years maturing, enjoying a diet befitting of their status as apex predators - crustaceans, fish, molluscs, insects and even juvenile birds. Male Longfin Eel are capable of reaching lengths of over 1.7m and weights of over 22kg, with females smaller. But no matter what the size or gender, Longfin Eels possess one of the richest, most complex meats in seafood.  

Though there are many ways to enjoy Eels, the best methods are ones that work with this richness, such as barbequing or hot-smoking. For something outrageously good, take boned fillets and just puncture the skin, with a pin or scalpel, and perforate it as much as you can bear. Take skewers and insert them perpendicularly through the fillet. Brush on a teriyaki marinade and grill over coals. Turn and baste, turn and baste, turn and baste - keep going until the fat under the skin renders and begins to bubble through. You will notice the skin frying in its own fat and dripping over the flesh side. Keep turning and basting for around twenty minutes - you won’t dry it out. Serve with a punchy salad. 



Wahoo are a bit of an outlier. They are one of the world’s true international fish, with scientists being unable to genetically differentiate between regional stocks. This is due in large part to how fast and far they swim. Wahoo are a schooling predator that can reach burst speeds of over 100km/h and can travel hundreds of kilometres in a day, feeding on small pelagic fish as they go. They are also known as one of the fastest growing species in the sea, reaching 15kg in their first year of life and growing up to 4mm every day! On top of all that, if handled properly, they also taste fantastic.  

Fortunately, most Wahoo are line caught and as a result are despatched and processed immediately upon capture, allowing for the best possible presentation of this remarkable fish. To cook it, treat it like Spanish Mackerel with a little more flavour. It’s excellent as a bone-in cutlet (bone in = better) and barbequed. The cutlets are also excellent baked. Place a layer of cutlets in an oven tray, scatter a few wedges of lemon, cloves of garlic and some oregano then drizzle with olive oil and white wine. Bake for 10-15 minutes, remove the fish and please, please, please… pour off the remaining liquid and reduce it until it forms a rich gravy. YUM! 



Found offshore in waters 50-400 metres deep, the Knifejaw sports one of the strangest mouths in Australian seafood. Their teeth have fused into a beak, which they use to crush the shells of crustaceans. As crustaceans make up the majority of their diet, the flesh of the Knifejaw is uncommonly sweet with a firm texture and rich flavour. This fish is usually encountered as a trawl and trap bycatch in low numbers so you may have to hunt around to find one but when you do, buy it! 


King Dory 

One of the deepest-dwelling members of the highly vaunted Dory family, the King Dory also possesses one of the most protrusible mouths in seafood, capable of extending nearly a third of its own length and drawing in litres of water, along with whatever prey it was targeting. Usually sold filleted, in summer the flesh is very similar to John Dory - opaque white when cooked, slender, and lean.  

In winter, King Dory develops squiggly veins of fat between the fillet and the bones that melt away when they hit a hot pan. Because of this, King Dory is a fish to get especially excited about during the coldest months of the year. A good method to cook this fish is pan fried, flesh side down first, letting the fat render before flipping and finishing on the skin. You won’t need to add any butter or oil as the fat in the fillet is more than enough to get the job done. Another ideal method is to roast a tray of winter vegetables, and with a few minutes left, place the fillets on top of the tray. They won’t take long to cook and pair well with a variety of flavours.