Jackass Morwong

Nemadactylus macropterus

Other names: Jackass fish, perch, sea bream, seine-boat morwong, silver perch.

Family: Cheilodactylidae (morwongs).


Available wild-caught, it is a bottom-dwelling marine fish that occurs from Brisbane south to Perth, including Bass Strait and around the Tasmanian coast, on the continental shelf and upper slope from shallow waters to depths of around 360m often near reefs or rocky bottoms, with smaller fish found near the coasts of Victoria and Tasmania. It is mainly caught off south-eastern Australia by demersal trawl, with minor catches in the Great Australian Bight. It is also caught off NSW by traps and droplines. Similar to Grey Morwong but more greyish-white rather than blue, and with a lack of distinctive colouring around the eyes. King Morwong can be distinguished from Jackass by its dark band on the outer upper half of the pectoral fin.

Season: Available year round.

Size and Weight: Commonly 900g-3kg and 40-60cm, but can grow to 4.5 and 70cm.

Price: Medium priced.


Banded Morwong, Blue Morwong, Grey Morwong, Red Morwong.

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted), and in fillet form (often skinned). In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for creamy pink, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish and fillets in 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 38%. Has a distinctive medium flavour, low-medium oiliness, flesh that can tend to be dry with a medium-firm texture. It is best to remove rib and pin bones before serving. Score whole fish at the thickest part of the flesh and cut thick fillets into serving-size portions and score to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue. It is best wrapped in foil or banana leaves if baking or barbecuing, to prevent it drying out. 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:

Basil, chilli, coconut milk, coriander, lemon, lime, sweet chilli sauce, olive oil, parsley, sesame, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce.


Breams, Ray’s Bream, Red Emperor, Snapper, Threadfin Salmon, Warehous.




Whole Morwong Barbecued in Banana Leaves >