Murray Cod

Maccullochella peelii

Murray Cod
Species

Freshwater Fish

Description

The largest freshwater fish found in Australia, Murray Cod is a fierce predator feeding on Yabbies, other fish, frogs, mice and even ducks, tortoises, water dragons and snakes.

Its wild population has been dramatically reduced by changes to its habitat, the introduction of foreign species (such as carp) and excessive commercial and recreational fishing. Since the mid-1990s there has been a ban on commercial fishing and only farmed fish are commercially available. It has olive-yellowish green skin marbled with small brown spots and a creamy white belly.

Its natural habitat is throughout the Murray Darling Basin in south-eastern Australia, including SA, VIC, NSW, ACT and QLD favouring slow flowing, muddy rivers and billabongs where it hides among sunken logs near shaded cover such as large rocks or overhanging vegetation.

It is farmed in NSW, VIC and QLD and is endemic to Australia. Three other members of the genus Maccullochella, Mary River Cod (M. mariensis), Trout Cod (M. macquariensis) and Eastern Freshwater Cod (M. ikei) are sold under the name Murray Cod.

Other Names

Blue Cod, Blue Nose Cod, Bluenose, Cod, Codfish, Goodo, Greenfish and Murray Perch, Ponde, Rock Cod.

Family

Percichthyidae (Temperate Basses).

Season

Available year round, though supply is limited (usually available by pre-order).

Size and Weight

Grows up to 1.8m long and over 100kg, though most commonly seen at 55-65cm and 2-5kg.

Price

High priced.

Relations

Australian Bass, Eastern Freshwater Cod, Golden Cod, Mary River Cod and Trout Cod.

To Buy

Sold whole (gilled and gutted), but usually as skinless fillets. In whole fish look for lustrous skin with a slippery, mucilaginous coating, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh smell. In fillets, look for white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh smell.

To Store

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Lay whole fish and fillets in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook

Average yield is 45%. Has a medium flavour, low oiliness and moist, medium-textured flesh with large flakes and few bones, which are easily removed. The thick skin is best removed. Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh. Cut thick fillets into serving-size portions to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. A good plate-sized fish cooked whole. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.

Goes Well With

Chilli, coriander, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemon, lime, mirin, olive oil, olives, sesame oil, soy sauce, tomatoes.

Alternatives

Leatherjackets, Pearl Perch, West Australian Dhufish.

Imports

None.

Recipes

Steamed Chinese-style Whole Murray Cod
Steamed Murray Cod Nori Rolls

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