Standard Names: Eastern Australian Salmon and Western Australian Salmon, previously known as Bay Trout, Cocky Salmon, Colonial Salmon, Salmon Trout and Kahawai (NZ)
AMCS lists Australian Salmon as a BETTER CHOICE
Forest & Bird (NZ) rank Kahawai (Aust. Salmon) as Yellow (OK Choice) in their Best Fish Guide
NSW DPI considers the Exploitation Status of Eastern Australian Salmon to be FULLY FISHED
Catches of both Eastern Australian Salmon and Western Australian Salmon are considered SUSTAINABLE in all of their catch areas by the relevant Government management bodies
The Purse and Beach Seines used to catch Australian Salmon result in low bycatch
Australian Salmon are related to Australian Herring, rather then the orange-fleshed Atlantic Salmon and other Salmonidae. Their name comes from the European Settlers, who noticed a likeness between the appearances of the species.
Australian Salmon are wild caught in coastal waters, often adjacent to estuaries and off coastal beaches. The majority of the commercial catch is taken by Purse Seine, sometimes with the use of spotter planes to locate the large schools. They are also caught as bycatch of purse seine and trawl fisheries targeting schooling species such as Snapper, Mackerel and Trevally.
Australian Salmon are caught in all southern waters of Australia, particularly southern NSW and Eastern Victoria. While commercial landings are at historically high levels, Australian Salmon are also a popular recreational species and the recreational catch is significant.
Because Australian Salmon is not especially popular with consumers, historically much of the catch has been used for pet-food or bait. Australian Salmon is commonly used as bait in the western Rocklobster fishery.
Australian Salmon are under-utilised and not especially well regarded by chefs or consumers. Because of this they are a low priced seafood option. If they are fresh and handled correctly Australian Salmon are moist and very enjoyable. They are also very high in Omega-3 fatty Acids.
Australian Salmon have a strong flavour and quite oily flesh. If not bled out or otherwise handled correctly the soft flesh will be dark and can develop off characteristics quickly. The dark pink flesh will lighten in colour when cooked, and stays incredibly moist. Those preferring a lighter flavoured fish can remove the darker red flesh and bloodline.
Smaller fish are of higher eating quality than larger specimens, which can be coarse and dry. Larger specimens can be cooked whole wrapped in foil or paper to prevent them drying out.
Because of their strong flavour and oil content, Australian Salmon are popular smoked or canned. The smoky flavour and slight char imparted by BBQ'ing this fish is especially tasty.
Strong accompanying flavours are recommended, such as the Mediterranean flavours of tomatoes, olives, vinegars, pickled vegetables and herbs.
Australian salmons can also be used to make excellent fish burgers or fish cakes